Gambling versus Designing: Organizing for the Design of the Probability Space in the Energy Sector

Abstract : The objective of this paper is to elucidate an organizational process for the design of generic technologies (GTs). While recognizing the success of GTs, the literature on innovation management generally describes their design according to evolutionary strategies featuring multiple and uncertain trials, resulting in the discovery of common features among multiple applications. This random walk depends on multiple market and technological uncertainties that are considered exogenous: as smart as he can be, the ‘gambler’ must play in a given probability space. However, what happens when the innovator is not a gambler but a designer, i.e., when the actor is able to establish new links between previously independent emerging markets and technologies? Formally speaking, the actor designs a new probability space. Building on a case study of two technological development programmes at the French Center for Atomic Energy, we present cases of GTs that correspond to this logic of designing the probability space, i.e. the logic of intentionally designing common features that bridge the gap between a priori heterogeneous applications and technologies. This study provides another example showing that the usual trial-and-learning strategy is not the only strategy to design GTs and that these technologies can be designed by intentionally building new interdependences between markets and technologies. Our main result is that building these interdependences requires organizational patterns that correspond to a ‘design of exploration’ phase in which multiple technology suppliers and application providers are involved in designing both the probability space itself and the instruments to explore and benefit from this new space.
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Contributeur : Kevin Levillain <>
Soumis le : mercredi 9 novembre 2016 - 14:45:11
Dernière modification le : lundi 3 juin 2019 - 11:09:34



Sophie Hooge, Olga Kokshagina, Pascal Le Masson, Kevin Levillain, Benoit Weil, et al.. Gambling versus Designing: Organizing for the Design of the Probability Space in the Energy Sector. Creativity and Innovation Management, Wiley, 2016, 25 (4), pp.464-483. ⟨10.1111/caim.12178⟩. ⟨hal-01394629⟩



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