Theses Doctoral

Appetite for Innovation: The Mobilization of Change and Creativity at elBulli

Opazo, Maria Pilar

This dissertation uses an organizational approach to examine how new ideas are mobilized in order to become radical innovations. I consider the case of elBulli, an avant-garde, three-Michelin star restaurant that has pioneered the "molecular" or "experimental" cuisine movement in the gastronomic field, to inductively study how innovation is made to work. Based on ethnographic data collected over a period of 16-months in Spain and in the United States, my research proposes that systematic and radical innovation is the result of concrete practices and collective efforts that enable new ideas and epistemic practices to be recognized, understood, and legitimated by the public. The research advances a new distinction in innovation studies between new final products and conceptual innovations and proposes that this distinction can contribute to clarify the dynamics behind the advancement of knowledge within a field. Also, I argue that this distinction can serve as a basis for the future development of a general framework of the different dimensions involved in the production of innovation. Throughout the research, I draw comparisons with different fields such as religion, politics, business, art and music to explore the potential applicability of the main insights obtained from my case study to illuminate innovation processes in general.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Bearman, Peter Shawn
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 11, 2014