Innovative action as skilled affordance-responsiveness: An embodied-mind approach

Ali Yakhlef*, Erik Rietveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Innovative action has often been regarded as the preserve of the deliberate mind and the outcome of individual explicit thought processes. In this regard, the material context within which innovative action occurs is considered as a passive container or at best a modifier of innovative action. Although recent studies have witnessed an interest in relating innovation to issues of embodiment, space and materiality, mainstream research remains largely grounded in a cognitivist, psychological idiom. The present paper takes an embodied-mind perspective and focuses on the individual–environment system as a whole to suggest that innovative action emerges from an agent's skilful responses to unconventional environmental affordances (or action possibilities). Rather than viewing innovation as occurring within material contexts, we offer a new understanding of context as a rich landscape of affordances that is partly constitutive of innovation. The paper concludes with discussions of the proposed approach, its implications for studying innovative action and suggestions for further enquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-111
JournalCreativity and innovation management
Issue number1
Early online date10 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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