Managing interactions between technological and stylistic innovation in the media industries, insights from the introduction of ebook technology in the publishing industry
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The mainstream of innovation research pays a lot of attention to technological innovation, but has neglected its interaction with another type of innovation, which is particularly important in sectors like the furniture, fashion and the media content industries: stylistic innovation. This paper explains how the quality certification processes for technological and stylistic innovations differ and how they may interact in the media industries. Awards are discussed as specific instantiations of micro certification schemes indicating excellence with respect to stylistic and/or technological product features. Furthermore, a definition of stylistic innovation is developed with reference to organizational identity as well as reputation, two key concepts, which permeate the processes of innovation and certification discussed in this paper. Stylistic and technological innovation may take place in both, the content as well as the form of media products. It will be argued that the interaction between stylistic and technological innovation depends, first of all, on the location of each of these types of innovation within the product, and, secondly, on the characteristics of the certification scheme faced by the producing firms. Within the media sector the literary publishing industry has been chosen to provide the subject of the empirical part. Two case studies related to the introduction of eBook technology are presented: One is a study of the first digital literary publisher in Europe and the other is a case study of the first international eBook award, which mixes technological and stylistic criteria. Theory and cases lead to a number of hypotheses, which are offered as potential departure points for future research on the interaction between innovation in style and technology.
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