A theory of innovation for process-based innovations such as nanotechnology

Jonathan Linton, Steven T Walsh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Many see Nanotechnology as the technology that will underlie the next Schumpeterian wave creating new opportunities for wealth and job creation. Further it is a process based or materials technology. Yet all currently used models of innovation are based on assembled products or service products and these simply do not recognize the differences in materials products nor the “enabling” nature of Nanotechnologies. If nanotechnology is poised to become the economic engine of this millennium and if current models of innovation, which are utilized, by policy makers and firm based strategist alike are based on technology product paradigms that are dissimilar to the realities of nanotechnology and other process-based technologies then there is cause for concern.

Here the authors provide a model and supporting cases demonstrating a new process or materials based innovation model that is based on the tight coupling between product and process innovation of not only Nanotechnology-based products but other process-based products. This is an important finding, because it identifies and remedies a gap in the literature associated with earlier process and product innovation models. For process-based products like materials, food, chemicals and nanotechnologies any change to the manufacturing processes results in significant changes in end product features. The implications of this model to practice are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-594
Number of pages12
JournalTechnological forecasting and social change
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Nanotechnology
  • Materials and process industries
  • Product innovation
  • Process innovation

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