Illumination in times of Uncertainty: Fifty Shades of Innovation for Societal Impact

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João José Pinto Ferreira
Anne-Laure Mention
Marko Torkkeli


Innovate or die. This observation is nothing new; yet it is probably more true and topical than ever. Over the last decades, innovation has expanded in an unprecedented manner and is now part of most firms’ strategies, if not the nexus of their strategies.  Originally, mainly centred around the introduction of manufactured novelties, innovation is now perceived and depicted by as many adjectives, categories and attributes as one can think of: service, organisational, process,  marketing, social, environmental, strategic, business model, and so on. This extension of the nature, types and forms of innovation goes hand in hand with the development of the academic literature focusing not only on the tangibility nature of novelties, but also on the intangibility character of some, or even most, of those. Moreover, and, as the analysis of leading-edge companies shows, innovation is nowadays never restricted to a single specific form. Innovation now embraces bundles of products and services, which are subject to new business models, distributed through new channels increasingly benefitting from an accrued interaction with customers, enrolling them in the development and marketing processes. The boundaries between goods and services innovations have blurred over time, leading to an abundant literature stemming from the convergence or synthesis streams, aiming at building a unified theory for innovation, and highlighting the convergence between the typical features of product innovation (such as the tangibility and the standardization) and those of service innovation (customer-centric, less structured, intangible), as argued by e.g. Evangelista (2006) and Gallouj and Savona (2009). (...)

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Author Biography

João José Pinto Ferreira, U.Porto / INESC TEC Porto - Portugal

Born in 1964, João José Pinto Ferreira got is Licenciatura in Electrical Engineering and Computers at Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto (FEUP) in1987; MSc Electrical Engineering and Computers at FEUP in 1991; PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computers at FEUP in 1995; Habilitation (“Agregação”) in Industrial Engineering and Management in April, 2011. Positions Held: 1987-1995, FEUP, Assistant Lecturer; 1995 – 2003: FEUP, Assistant Professor; 2003-today: FEUP, Associate Professor. At FEUP (1997-2000) also he was Member of the Executive Board of the Electrical Engineering Department and since 2004 Director of the Master Degree of Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship. From October 2004 to July 2007 assumed a joint coordination of INESC Porto Unit of Information and Communication Systems. In January 2008 moved to the newly created Department in FEUP, “Industrial Engineering and Management Department”. Responsible since March 2007 for the pre-incubation activities at UPTec (U.Porto business incubator), where, since Sep/2008, he has been coordinating the STARTUP Program from Junior Achievement at U.Porto. Teaching Activities: Professor at FEUP in Information Systems and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Research Activity: in 1988 starts his collaboration as researcher at Institute of Engineering Systems and Computers (INESC). His R&D activity, developed 1st at INESC and later at INESC Porto, started in 1988 and concentrated in areas such as: Enterprise Integration, supporting Architectures and Life-cycle. Executable Models. Enterprise Modeling. João José is member of Portuguese Engineers Society, of the IFIP WG5.12, Working Group on Architectures for Enterprise Integration and Expert to the Comité Européen de Normalisation, CEN / TC 310 / WG1, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Systems Architecture. Along with his R&D activity he assumed different roles in several R&D european projects: Participation as work-package leader and project leader in ESPRIT 5478 SHOP-CONTROL as workpackage leader in ESPRIT 8865 Real-I-CIM, as expert in ESPRIT 9245 PASSE, as work-package leader in ESPRIT 20544 X-CITTIC. Participation as Project Coordinator and Technical Manager of COBIP UR 4002 - SECTOR 6 do TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS PROGRAMME (Jan98/Dec/99). Project; Project Coordinator and Technical Manager of the DAMASCOS project IST-1999-11850 (Jan2000/Dec2001). Technical Coordinator the European projects B-MAN and (Apr2002/Set2004). Publications: João José has so far published more than 60 scientific publications, including Journals, Conferences, book chapters with peer review. He was also Guest Editor at the International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing and editor of a book published by Kluwer Academic Publisher entitled: “e-Manufacturing: Business Paradigms and Supporting Technologies" (Hardcover) ISBN-10: 1402076541. He has so far been responsible for the supervision of several PhD’s and MSc’s. Business Roles: General Assembly President of Tomorrow Options Microelectronics S.A. since March 2007. General Assembly Secretary of “Projecto Construir - Projecto de intervenção Social” since October 2009.