"Jumping the tracks": crisis-driven social innovation and the development of novel trajectories

John Bessant, Howard Rush, Anna Trifilova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the role which crisis conditions play in shaping new innovation trajectories and enabling radical innovation. Drawing on a series of case examples from the health and humanitarian sector it shows how the experience of extreme conditions forces the search for new solutions which can bring significant performance improvements. Within this context the role of entrepreneurs as brokers, connecting together different worlds, is of particular importance. User involvement in a process of co-evolution is also highly relevant; such radical innovation systems emerge from a specific context and it is the regular interaction with users which shapes the emergent model in such a way as to permit rapid and widespread diffusion. We conclude with a discussion of the challenges posed by such modes as reverse and potentially disruptive innovations which established ‘mainstream’ organizations find difficult to accept or adopt – the ‘not invented here’ effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-242
Number of pages22
JournalDie Unternehmung - Swiss Journal of Business Research and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012


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