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Soft InnovationEconomics, Product Aesthetics, and the Creative Industries$
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Paul Stoneman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572489

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572489.001.0001

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Defining Soft Innovation

Defining Soft Innovation

(p.15) 2 Defining Soft Innovation
Soft Innovation

Paul Stoneman

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the issues and provides a fuller argument as to why soft innovation, conceptually, is important. Innovation that encompasses the artistic, formal (as in the contrast between form and function), intellectual or aesthetic, has largely been ignored in the mainstream literature on innovation. At the centre of the analysis here is a form of innovation labelled soft innovation, defined to encompass changes in goods and services that primarily impact upon these aspects rather than functional performance. Soft innovation mainly concerns product innovation and product differentiation. The emphasis upon product differentiation means that economic analysis designed for exploring (static) models in differentiated markets can be brought to bear upon dynamic questions relating to innovation. Innovation in terms of new product launches in such markets may reflect either movements towards equilibrium or changes in the equilibrium. Two main types of soft innovation are detailed: the first involving changes in products in the creative industries; the second involving changes in the aesthetic/intellectual dimensions of products in other industries.

Keywords:   creative industries, product innovation, process innovation, product differentiation, innovation

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