Classical approaches to innovation such as stage-gate-processes follow the idea of creating and projecting a high quantity of ideas and then selecting them. The Emergent Innovation approach (Peschl & Fundneider 2008) follows a radically different strategy and sees innovation as socio-epistemological technology leading to innovations from within. This approach builds upon Scharmer’s (2007) Theory U and understands innovation as something which can be learnt from the “future as it emerges” by developing / changing and at the same time respecting what is already there.

In interdisciplinary university course settings, students’ innovation processes based on their “questions that really matter to them” are thoroughly investigated. Focus of the current research project is the socio-epistemological dimension within the innovation process. Values such as trust, respect, fairness, and openness are considered as important for fostering creativity. However, at the same time irritation, uncertainty and even frustration seems to be a driving force for the knowledge creation process. Coping strategies to deal with that uncertainty are looked for.

Methods: Qualitative diary entries as well as quantitative surveys are opted for answering the questions above. Data collection is carried out longitudinally, investigating the whole innovation process in depth.


Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., Roetzer, K., Bottaro, G., & Peschl, M. F. (2018). When relational and epistemological uncertainty act as driving forces in collaborative knowledge creation processes among university students., opens an external URL in a new window Thinking Skills and Creativity, 28, 21-40.

Peschl, F.M., Bottaro, G., Rötzer, K. & Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M.  (2014). Authors' Response: Challenges in Studying and Teaching Innovation: Between Theory and Practice, Constructivist Foundations, 9(3), 440-446.

Peschl, F.M., Bottaro, G., Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., & Rötzer, K. (2014). Learning How to Innovate as a Socio-epistemological Process of Co-creation, Constructivist Foundations, 9(3), 421-433.

Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., Bottaro, G., Rötzer, K. & Peschl, M.F. (2013). Emergent innovation as socio-epistemological process of knowledge creation: The role of group values, uncertainty, responsibility, involvement and fun. EAWOP small group meeting, Valencia, Spain, 19-21 September, 2013


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Markus F. Peschl, opens an external URL in a new window

University of Vienna, Department of Philosophy
Philosophy of Science: Cultures and Technologies of Knowledge (Research Group)