Coping with different types of innovation: What do metaphors reveal about how entrepreneurs describe the innovation process?

Elena Bruni, Sara Bonesso, Fabrizio Gerli

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


Entrepreneurs play a central role in generating and adopting both technological and non‐technological innovations. However, existing research provides little guidance on how entrepreneurs interpret their endeavours to generate and implement different types of innovation. This paper addresses this void by bringing metaphor analysis into the field of innovation. We argue that the role of figurative language is important in describing the complexity that characterizes the innovation process. Examining qualitative data from episodes of innovation narrated by a sample of Italian entrepreneurs, this paper provides insights into how each type of innovation (product, marketing, process, organizational and strategic) is described differently, through the use of metaphorical language. This research advances the literature by providing a conceptualization of the different metaphor themes entrepreneurs ascribe to each type of innovation, and discusses practical implications for how the metaphorical language can be analysed and interpreted so that the innovation process can be improved.
Seiten (von - bis)175 - 190
FachzeitschriftCreativity and Innovation Management
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2019