Diffusion models can be used to describe a large variety of phenomena in many fields of research, including thermodynamics, bacteriology, linguistics and archaeology, but also innovation management. The latest publication of wi1 member Albrecht Fritzsche investigates how the models used to study innovation correspond with the approaches in other disciplines. Although nomenclature is sometimes quite different, the mathematical foundations of the diffusion models are similar to those used in physics and sociology. However, there is one particular aspect which receives much more attention in innovation management than elsewhere: the subject of the diffusion process. When it comes to innovation, this subject can be variably defined and tampered with in a multitude of ways. Using examples from the automotive industry, Fritzsche explores the implications of this peculiarity of innovation management and the role of open innovation in this context.

The paper is based on an invited speech at the Sixth International Conference on Diffusion Fundamentals. Since December 24th, it can be downloaded HERE. And yes, diffusion models may also be useful to describe how joy can spread across the world at Christmas…

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