Innovation – what is it all about?


At least since the advanced capitalist societies were trapped in the so-called stagflation crisis in the 1970s – a crisis reinforced by the oil crisis, the repercussions of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the war in Vietnam, and other events – leading experts, economists, policy advisors, and politicians have pushed for more innovation – innovation to stay competitive. In the current debates it is no longer just technological innovations but but innovations related to all aspects of social life including a wide understanding of technology. Thus, some contributors to the innovation debate call for social innovation, organizational innovation, institutional innovation, and many other forms of innovation.

Innovation seems to be one of the most important issues in the early 21st century. All states, governments, businesses, universities, and other research and educational institutions want to be innovative and lead the innovation race. Universities, which historically carried the role of creating new ideas and to teach the students to get new ideas, have realized that they are no longer the only ones producing innovation. Many competitors have appeared and today we see a fierce competition between public and private universities, big businesses, governmental agencies, and think tanks. Schools have clear goals about producing innovative and creative students.

This course will step back and look at various fields, discourses, and understandings of ‘innovation’. Moreover, we focus on two particular discussions about innovation. The first one focuses on the relationship bewteen warfare and innovation. The other example refers to the debate about the role or art and artists in innovation processes. Can we improve innovation in business and technology if we bring the create artist into the innovation process?




This course targets any doctoral student who has an interest in innovation, creativity, and in progressive social change. Formally, you need a degree in social science but since innovation is cross-disciplinary we can accept degrees other than social science. The particpant must be familiar with theories and methods within social sciences.

It is expected that the particpants have read the prescribed reading and take part in class discussions. They need to attend the whole course in order to receive the diploma.


The paper

Each participant must produce a paper about their PhD project.

The paper is due 20 August 2019. Please, send it to Lars Bo Kaspersen


Travel Stipends

The course is open to all PhD students on the terms listed above. The Principal Coordinator of the SDC Social Sciences offers 6 travel stipends of 6000 DKK each. The stipends can be applied by non-SDC financed PhD students enrolled on the course. SDC financed PhD students must cover their cost of travel and accommodation within their overall budgets.

Applications for travel stipends should be sent to Katja Høeg Tingleff – – no later than 15 June 2019. Principal Coordinator Stine Haakonsson will soon thereafter decide upon the distribution of stipends.



Prof. Lars Bo Kaspersen (coordinator), Copenhagen Business School

Prof. Jiang Yu 余江, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Artist Mr. Søren Andreasen, Denmark



2 – 6 September 2019



The event will take place at the SDC building at:
Eastern Yanqihu campus of the University of Chinese Academy of Science
380 Huaibeizhuang, Huairou district, Beijing