4Innovation and Social Construction of a New Idea in SMEs

4.1. Introduction

Faced with changes in the environment, SMEs must be able to innovate based on ideas that are new enough to differentiate themselves from their competitors (Carrier and Szostak 2014). In Chapter 3, we showed that this objective requires the existence of a creative slack, a pool of ideas (Cohendet and Simon 2015), which must be intentionally nurtured and whose content and ideas are based in particular on existing knowledge (Parmentier et al. 2017b). This slack also has the merit of paying attention to the sources of these ideas, both in terms of the components of the organization and the environment, and therefore of better understanding who is behind them, which individuals are involved in the formulation of these ideas (Ford 1996; Drazin et al. 1999), and how to foster their emergence, collection and selection. However, addressing the issue of these new ideas and the creative slack in SMEs without addressing the more concrete question of their transformation into innovation, would be similar to tasting a famous chef’s dish on the pages of a beautiful cookbook. We would have the colors of the food. However, we would miss its delicate sound under the fork, its scents brushing the ends of our nose and its flavors on the tongue.

It is important to understand how the vague statement becomes an elaborate concept (Parmentier et al. 2017b). This chapter therefore aims to present more concretely how new ideas ...

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