Processes of organisational innovation and change stimulated by Richard Normann

The Richard Normann Lecture 2019 will be delivered by Andrew H. Van de Ven, Professor Emeritus in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He will review some of the seminal ideas of Richard Normann that stimulated subsequent theory and practice of organisational innovation and change. These ideas include temporal processes of change, knowledge development, growth stages, social learning, entrepreneurial leadership, and situational organising.

Based on a career of real-world observations, Normann (1977) pointed out that in practice these ideas are often manifestations of highly uncertain and dialectical processes that are socially constructed through webs of communication and interaction among many stakeholders. As a consequence, processes of organisational innovation, learning, and designing deal centrally with problems of control, resolving dilemmas, and designing ‘scaffolds’ (or tools) for managing complex organisational processes (Normann, 2001). One central research implication of Normann’s seminal ideas is that managers cannot control the innovation journey; instead they need to learn to maneuver the obstacles encountered along the journey.

Normann, R. 1977. Management for Growth, New York, NY: Wiley
Normann, R. 2001. Reframing Business: When the map changes the landscape, NY: Wiley