Innovation tool adoption and adaptation in small technology-based firms

G.A. De Waal, P. Knott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we present a qualitative, interview-based study of the processes small technology-based firms go through when they adopt tools and adapt them for use. By extracting 59 instances of tool internalisation across five firms, we derived a coding scheme combining existing and emergent forms of tool bricolage. The four types are reconstruction, reinterpretation, evolution, and customisation. We articulate examples of each type. Our findings reinforce the variability of any given tool once enacted in practice, contrary to implied expectations in some innovation tools literature that tool application is a straightforward mechanical process. In the small firms in our study, we found reinterpretation is the most prevalent form of tool adaptation. This type of tool use is prone to being superficial and failing to gain the benefits available from a more carefully customised or reconstructed tool. We also report on the different ways in which practitioners gain awareness of new tools.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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