Innovation and Organization: An Overview from the Perspective of Luhmann’s Autopoiesis

Few words in modern society have become as positively charged as the word innovation. Of course, premodern societies were also innovative in their way. Still, technology, ideas, and organizational forms have changed over time, and it is only in modern society that innovation has become almost mandatory; that is to say, ranked uppermost in society’s value system. ‘‘Be innovative!’’ has become an imperative in modern society.

Niklas Luhmann viewed innovative processes (understood as social change or renewal) not from an action-theoretical perspective, i.e., as the result of an intervention into a social system with the structural changes that go with it, but rather from the perspective of self-referential processes of systems where change in structures are interpreted as changes in communicative events. Innovation can thus be understood as structural changes where systems react to events in the environment with a changed connectivity between communications.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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