Revisiting Rogers: the diffusion of his innovation development process as a normative framework for innovation managers, students and scholars

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Angele Marie Beausoleil


Innovation has evolved into a core management function for most organizations. Business managers, regardless of sector or firm size, now require an understanding of and practice with the innovation process in order to develop a competence with navigating its winding path. To effectively engage in innovation processes, individuals require a distinct set of knowledge, aptitude and skills, or key innovative competencies. This paper examines a broad multidisciplinary literature focused on how innovation happens and the normative elements of its process, to inform key innovative competencies across its many phases. Through document analysis, empirically-based innovation process theories and models are examined with the intent to discover and propose a normative framework. The literature review provides a broad classification of innovation process descriptions and phases reflecting Everett Rogers’ original innovation-development process (IDP). Rogers’ IDP is proposed as a normative framework from which individual innovative competencies are identified and classified. Both the framework and typology are proposed as guides for innovation process understanding, participation and management. For innovation researchers and educators, this article suggests an innovation process normative framework may act as a recipe for further research on innovative competencies and innovation management pedagogical models.

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Author Biography

Angele Marie Beausoleil, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Angèle M. Beausoleil (PhD 2016) received her BAA degree in arts and commerce from Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada in 1987 and her M.A. degree in innovation development from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada in 2013. She completed an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in innovation process pedagogy at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada in 2016. She is currently the assistant professor of business design and innovation at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and a visiting lecturer of applied innovation and innovative leadership at the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. From 2012 to 2016, she lectured with the UBC Sauder School of Business and led action research on design methods for business innovation. Her research interests include the design, development and delivery of human-centred design curriculum (including design thinking) inside business schools and corporations. Dr. Beausoleil’s awards and honours include the Teaching Excellence Award at UC Berkeley Haas, the UBC Public Scholars Fellowship, the UBC Academic Achievement Award, the Mitacs Accelerate Internship Award(s) and Elevate Fellowship Research Award.