Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2017, 5, *-*
ISSN Online: 2327-5960
ISSN Print: 2327-5952
10.4236/***.2017.***** **** **, 2017 1 Open Journal of Social Sciences
What Is Innovation? A Study of the Definitions,
Academic Models and Applicability of
Innovation to an Example of Social
Housing in England
S. P. Taylor
University of Cumbria, Carlisle, England
Throughout history innovation has been
conceived, defined, interpreted and
understood in different ways but what is it? This study looks at innovation
starting with a brief history of innovation. It then looks at a sample of the
multiple definitions that there are of innovation throughout the l
from these develops a composite definition. From this composite definition
key components such as the creative process and academic models of creati
ity are looked at. The research then looks at the applicability of innovation
hting two studies carried out in England of innovation being
applied within a social housing organisation
. Through the application by a
two dimensional typology of social innovation they had identified innovation
being applied to new services and improvements to existing services. The r
search concludes that innovation can be identified with the creation of a new
product or service or an improvement of an existing product or service.
Innovation, Models, Creative, Incubation, Strategic
Society has developed with the implementation of ideas that have come together
to create new solutions to problems or improvements to existing systems,
processes, products or attempted solutions. Having ideas, implementing them,
developing new ways of doing things and improving existing ways of doing things
have been part of mankind’s history . Ideas and concepts have influenced
How to cite this paper:
Taylor, S.P. (2017
What Is Innovation? A Study of the Defin
tions, Academic Models and Applicability
of Innovation to an Example of Social
Housing in England
Open Journal of S
**** **, ***
**** **, ***
**** **, ***
Copyright © 201
7 by author and
Research Publishing Inc.
work is licensed under the Creative
Commons Attribution International
License (CC BY
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 2 Open Journal of Social Sciences
change as well as being influenced by it, reflecting through language the social
understanding of the world . The coming together of ideas and the process for
developing solutions to problems has been called innovation, but what is it and
how does it happen? To answer this question, we first need to understand the
history of innovation. We also need to be able to define what it is and some of
the definitions within the existing literature need to be examined to understand
how it is understood by different sections of the academic, political and profes-
sional communities. Creativity and the development of ideas are key compo-
nents within the innovation process and this research looks at the creative
process. There is a significant academic literature on the creative proves with
different models and theories put forward to show how the process works. Sev-
eral academic models that have been put forward during the twentieth century
are examined. A well as understanding what innovation is it is important to un-
derstand how it can be applied to the world that people are living in to deliver
benefits that improve people’s lives. The research looks at two studies that were
carried out in England that looked at innovation within social housing provid-
ers. To provide a context within which we can focus on innovation it is worth
looking at the history of innovation briefly.
2. Innovation: History
Novation was a medieval legal term relating to “renewing an obligation by
changing a contract for a new debtor” . The term was rarely used until the
twentieth century and used significantly in the early twenty first century. Godin
 argues that the meaning of the term innovation in the twentieth century has
been a resolution between the two contrasting terms of imitation and invention
which have evolved through the centuries from ancient Greek philosophy. The
imitation of reality was a central theme in the work of Plato and there has been a
continuous debate throughout the centuries about art imitating, copying or be-
ing an interpretation of reality   . Imitation has been considered as in-
vention at different points through history, during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries in England patents were given to importers of existing inventions to
stimulate economic growth instead of to inventors   and during the eigh-
teenth century the imitation of goods produced for consumption was considered
as invention for improving the quality, design and appearance of these goods 
 . The expansion of consumerism from the sixteenth century  together
with the development of economic thought around wealth and material prosper-
ity from the seventeenth century  provided a context within which the later
industrialization processes can be said to have developed.
The renaissance in fourteenth century Europe had fostered a spirit of discov-
ery in the following centuries to seek the new, across all fields of knowledge in-
cluding the arts, science, literature, history and economics . Scientific discov-
ery and technological advances were allied to invention  which by the nine-
teenth century had become key parts of the industrialization process linked to
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 3 Open Journal of Social Sciences
the economics of profit which in turn impacted significantly on society. The ap-
plication to economic theory of social and technological advances was pioneered
by Marx in the nineteenth century  . Marx saw the development in in-
dustrial production as increasing capital and activity in the wider economy as
well as fostering social change . The evolution of economic theory in the
twentieth century aligned the efficiencies of production to technological ad-
vances, industrial and economic growth . The twentieth century saw the term
innovation used by some writers to explain technological change  as well as
being the subject of a body of literature assessing the processes behind the term.
Early theories looked at the psychological aspects associated with innovation, the
development of linear process models and the creative dimension of innovation
was recognized . Innovation was seen in the mid twentieth century as an in-
strument of economic growth  and economic survival for organizations”
    . By the late twentieth century the term innovation had
become entangled with advancement, technological change, social change and
development across many strands of knowledge, across society and personalized
to the individual . In the twenty first century the term innovation signifies a
myriad of meanings and concepts influenced by different factors over the centu-
ries and some of these definitions are looked at in the next section.
3. Innovation: Definition
There are a significant number of definitions of innovation that are used across
different fields in academia, industry, government and service provision. The
academic literature available relates to a wide spectrum of disciplines and can
cut across discipline areas  . For this study, it is important to have a de-
finition of innovation that is suitable for the subject and research being under-
taken. To do this, different definitions of innovation in the literature has been
examined to establish an understanding of the components that make up the
concept of innovation and specifically in relation to social housing.
The wide variety of literature and language used about innovation adds to dif-
ferent interpretations and understandings about basic concepts about the mean-
ing of innovation  . As well as looking at the different components that
make up innovation the literature also provides several models, theories and
frameworks to understand innovation. Approaches have been made to establish
a unified understanding of innovation  which would have some advantages
around clarity and single purpose, but it has also been argued that such an ap-
proach would not be helpful . The definition of innovation used in this study
has been developed following a review of the literature and examination of the
components of innovation. It supports the academic research being undertaken
through this study to make a meaningful contribution to knowledge.
To start the examination of literature on innovation a selection of the key parts
of several definitions from relevant literature are provided below in (Table 1). A
note is placed next to each definition to justify its inclusion in the table.
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 4 Open Journal of Social Sciences
Table 1. A sample of different definitions of Innovation in the existing literature.
1 Creation of new combinations
of existing resources
Schumpeter recognized the
importance of innovation in the 1930s
2 Implementation of a new or significantly improved product
(good/service) or process (method/practice/relationship)
for proposed definition
Innovation is the creation and implementation of new processes,
products, services and methods of delivery which result in significant
improvements in outcomes, efficiency, effectiveness or quality
A widening of the definition
4 The successful exploitation of new ideas or ones that
are adopted from other sectors or organizations’ The UK government’s definition of innovation
5 Creation and application of good ideas Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) definition
6 A continuous and dynamic process in which
ideas are transformed into value This definition includes value as a part of innovation
7 The successful introduction of new services, products,
processes, business models and ways of working
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) includes
business models and ways of working in the definition
8 The development (generation) and/or use
(adaption) of new ideas or behaviors This definition includes behaviors as well as ideas
9 The introduction of new elements into a service—new knowledge,
new organization, new management/skills This definition focuses on the new within a service
10 Innovations are in a significant way new and
disruptive towards the routines and structures prevailing
This definition views innovation as
affecting the external environment
11 Innovation is the process by which
new ideas turn into practical value in the world
This definition focuses on the
practical application of ideas
Source: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 .
These definitions contribute to the scope of the literature review, understanding
of innovation and development of the definition that is used in this research
Table 1 shows different definitions of innovation and identifies some core
components that make up innovation. It also shows some convergence of ideas
and thinking regarding innovation . These core components are taken and
put into a composite definition of innovation as “the creative process whereby
new or improved ideas are successfully developed and applied to produce out-
comes that are practical and of value” . A key component of the composite
definition of innovation is the identification of the creative process which is dis-
cussed in the next section.
4. Innovation: The Creative Process
The creative process links creativity and innovation with the purpose of pro-
ducing something of value that can be traded, developed and commercially ex-
 say that they prefer the use of the term “value in-
novation” to more accurately describe the linked process involving creativity
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 5 Open Journal of Social Sciences
and innovation as it is more explicit and reflective of that operative environ-
ment. They see the linked process between creativity and innovation as one
of approach is employed. Klein and Tremblay discuss creation
and innovation within the context of urban, social and cultural development
linking them as a linear process whereby “creation precedes innovation: and,
innovation depends on the social acceptance of creation and the spread of its ef-
fects and results” . Within this context the commercial impetus is less of a
driving force behind the processes of creation and innovation. These processes
and their connection can be viewed in different way and not just in the linear
form . A linear interpretation of the relationship between creativity and in-
novation excludes a range of other ways through which creative activity and in-
novation can take place as well as imposing a structured view of how creativity
and innovation takes place and interrelates. This includes ideas that come into
existence randomly or accidentally as well processes that can be unstructured,
random and uncontrolled.
It has been suggested by some writers, that only certain people or groupings
within society are creative  but it has also been claimed that everyone has the
capacity to be creative . If it is accepted that everyone has the capacity to be
creative and that the processes involved are context dependent, then the unre-
strictive nature of these factors would suggest that creative activity and innova-
tion can take place through an infinite number of ways curtailed only by the re-
strictive factors that are also individual and context dependent.
Many different models of the creative process have been developed by re-
searchers, academics, practitioners and others, however, not all writers agree
that the creative process can be shown through a model. Vinacke  said that
creativity within the artistic process does not follow a model and Wertheimer
 saw the process of creative thinking as an integrated one. Within these dif-
ferent models there are some consistent themes including combining the devel-
opment of ideas together with the use of imagination and analysis. The older
models tend to look at the start of the creative process as being uncontrolled and
linked to the subconscious processes within a person’s brain whereas the newer
models tend to lean towards it being a controlled generative process.
5. Creativity: Academic Models
A study of creativity undertaken by Plsek  has highlighted several models
within the literature on creativity that are important in explaining how the crea-
tive process has been analyzed by researchers, academics and practitioners.
These creativity models can be criticized for being no more than frameworks for
enabling thought and reason to be developed. Fritz  was dismissive of several
writers who have developed models of creativity, in terms of their understanding
of the subject itself, “many of these people have never created anything other
than theories about creativity” (p. 4). Jung  identified two creative processes
at work, the rational and the subconscious. The former is a conscious process
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 6 Open Journal of Social Sciences
involving the systematic processing and adapting of existing knowledge, the lat-
ter is a process internalized within the individual’s subconscious. Most models of
the creative process seek to balance both these strands whereas a small number
focus on one of the strands such as Barron  through his “psychic creation”
model, this identifies creativity as being a mysterious process based upon the
psychological and subconscious through four steps. Weisberg  identified
from his work looking at the lives of great creators that moments of inspiration
had been backed up by years of conscious work and preparation. The generation
of an idea backed up by conscious preparatory analytical work also requires im-
plementation to become fully realized. Contemporary researchers, academics
and writers have developed models that embrace the complex aspects of the cre-
ative processes as it encompasses different developmental, contextual and appli-
cability factors. In balancing creative and analytical thinking, models of the crea-
tive process have developed during the 20th century focusing on the harnessing
of creativity to enable problem solving solutions to be developed. The develop-
ment and implementation of creative solutions requiring the input of individu-
als, the right environment to be in place as well as the combination of elements
highlighted through models of the creative process.
The creative process was presented by Wallas  in a five stage model in
1926 which was not only one of the first to be developed but has also been used
as a basis for the development of subsequent models . Wallas  believed
that creativity was a legacy of the evolutionary process which allowed humans to
adapt to rapidly changing environments and through his five-stage model he
sought to explain insights and illuminations within the creative process.
The model presented in (Table 2) is treated in some academic texts as only
having four stages with the “
phase shown as a sub stage. The first
, is where conscious preparatory work on an identified problem
or issue takes place including understanding it fully as well as attempts at resolu-
tion. During the
stage the issue or problem becomes internalized by
the individual into their subconscious to be processed prior to the development
of their insight, illumination or creative idea. A period taken during the “
stage may help the individual to be more creative and aid their problem-solving
Table 2. Breakdown of the wallas five stage model.
Preparation The problem is defined, observed and its dimensions studied
incubation The problem is put to one side and
internalized into the unconscious mind
intimation The creative person gets a “feeling” that a solution is on its way
illumination/insight The creative idea bursts emerge from its preconscious
processing into conscious awareness
verification The idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and implemented
Sources: Adapted from .
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 7 Open Journal of Social Sciences
abilities as well as enabling misleading approaches to be forgotten. Leading on
from this, it can be argued that, if a period is not taken during the “
stage the individual may become fixated on taking forward an inappropriate ap-
proach to solve a problem. At the
stage the problem or issue returns
to the conscious and the individual has a new insight or idea regarding it. At the
last stage in the model the idea or insight goes through a verification process to
assess its appropriateness and its further development.
Torrance  sees the work of Wallasas forming a lot of the teaching on crea-
tive thinking and that it has influenced the development of other models of the
creative process. Wallas  noted that during the creative process outlined in
his model the individual can return to earlier stages. The first and last stages of
his model are placing purposeful preparation and critical verification together
suggesting that critical and analytical thinking complement each other rather
than contrasting against each other. It can be said that those who think creatively
study, analyze, verify and judge but they have trained themselves to perceive,
notice things, expect change and avoid making premature judgements. The im-
plied theory behind Wallas’ model is that creative thinking is a subconscious
process, it cannot be directed and that both creative and analytical thinking are
Building on the work of Wallas, Rossman  looked at the creative processes
employed by 710 inventors and used the results obtained through a survey to
develop a seven stage model . This model begins with stages to observe and
analyze a “need or difficulty” which may be reflective of his survey respondents
but not necessarily a requirement of the creative process. The implication is that
a “need or difficulty” has to exist and be identified before the creative process
can take place. Rossman  has also added a final stage to “experiment and test
the best fitting solution”, which may also be reflective of the survey respondents.
This model has connotations of a positivist empirically based approach to aug-
menting creativity through a controlled process as opposed to a process that is
built around enhancing a creative spark that has ignited. An element of mystery
is still attached to the creation of an idea in Rossman’s model although the
process identifies ideas as emerging at stage six as a response to an assessed
Table 3 shows Rossman’s seven stage model which begins with stages that
observe and identify a need prior to generating a creative idea, in contrast, Wal-
las  whose model begins with preparation and incubation stages which de-
velops an environment to foster creativity. The development of a creative idea is
shown in Wallas’s model as an
which is inspirational which differs
from Rossman’s model where the creative idea is seen as emerging through an
analytical process. Unlike Wallas, Rossman  does not consider the process-
ing of new ideas or insights that appear at the illumination stage to be subject to
the subconscious “the assumption that the subconscious is responsible for the
final solution is, however, no answer to the problem. It merely amounts to giving
a name to a thing which mystifies and puzzles us” .
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 8 Open Journal of Social Sciences
Table 3. Breakdown of rossmans seven stage model.
One Observation of a need/difficulty
Two Analysis of the need
Three A survey of all available information
Four A formulation of all objective solutions
Five A critical analysis of these solutions to assess their advantages/disadvantages
Six Emergence of the new idea
seven Experimentation to test out the best fitting solution
Source: Adapted from .
The balance between the imaginative/uncontrolled aspects of creativity and
the processes to analyze as well as control them are shown in the development of
different models that try and explain the creative process. This could be said to
be a microcosm of the historical view that creativity is linked to flair. Imagina-
tion, genius, artistic venture and it is uncontrollable together with a more con-
temporary view that has sought to harness, engage, understand, control and to
use the energies of creative thought in a positive way. Taking elements of Wal-
las’s work forward, Osborn  developed a seven-stage model (Table 4) for
creative thinking that balances both analysis and imagination.
As in the Wallas model, Osborn  includes the
stage, but his
model shares a number of similarities with Rossman’s seven stage model. These
include an assessment of a need, the gathering of data relating to this need, the
assembly and selection of a solution as well as experimentation relating to the
selected solution. Like Wallas , Osborn  links creativity to the subcons-
cious whereas Rossman  links it to a more rational and analytical approach.
Wallas saw the creative process as an ongoing one whereby a “single achieve-
ment or thought” as “the making of a new generalization or invention” which
can be dissected into a “continuous process, with a beginning, and a middle and
an end” . The stages within these models of the creative process can be seen
as not being stages at all but processes occurring during creation which blend
together. To be successful the creative process is described as “flow” by Csik-
zentmihalyi  whereby it is the result of the coming together of elements
within a system; culture, an individual bringing novelty forward and external
people who verify the idea or insight. He sees the role of the creative individual
as being a link in the chain of a longer creative process and he sees creativity as
“the cultural equivalent of the process of genetic changes that result in biological
evolution, where random variations take place in the chemistry of our chromo-
somes, below the threshold of consciousness” .
Osborn postulated that creative ideas are trapped in the minds of individuals
because of the fear that people have of rejection if they are put forward. Osborn
    developed
as a technique to be used to improve
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 9 Open Journal of Social Sciences
Table 4. Breakdown of the Osborn seven-step model.
Orientation Pointing up the problem
Preparation gathering pertinent data
Analysis breaking down the relevant material
Ideation piling up alternatives by way of ideas
Incubation letting up, to invite illumination
Synthesis putting the pieces together
Evaluation judging the resulting ideas
Source: Adapted from .
the generation of ideas, especially in group meeting through harnessing the
groups collective knowledge and interaction to develop ideas. This process en-
courages participants to contribute to idea generation through an open thinking
approach with equal weight put on each submission. Osborn identified four ba-
sic rules to be applied when using the
process; criticism is ruled
out, freewheeling is welcomed, quantity is wanted, and combination/improve-
ment are sought . Rossiter and Lillien  see the generation of “creative
ideas” as “vital to business success” and highlight that the principles behind
have “evolved considerably” since Osborn put forward the
process. From the body of literature that has developed since the early 1950’s,
Rossiter and Lillien identify six principles that have emerged that should be used
process; there should be instructions for each planned
session, a target should be set for the number of ideas to be generated, ideas
should initiated by individuals, initiated ideas should be refined group interac-
tion, individuals should select the final idea through a voting process and session
times should be controlled to short periods (15 minutes for initial idea genera-
tion and 2 hours for refining/selection) .
The combination of imagination and control has been a continuing aspect of
the development of models of creativity seeking to systemize techniques to ena-
ble the directing and analysis of creativity. An example of this is the Parnes-Osborn
Creative Problem Solving (CPS) model which has developed alongside the use of
technique since the 1960’s . Osborn introduced CPS with 3
steps-fact finding, idea finding and solution finding and this was refined by
Parnes  into a five step model and again by Isaksen & Treffinger  who
added a sixth step. In the model the first two steps (objective and fact finding)
and last two steps (solution and acceptance finding) require the use of analytical
thinking and the middle two steps (problem and idea finding) require the use of
Table 5 shows the Parnes-Osborn CPS model which builds on the Osborn
seven stage model and Rossman’s stage model through a rational, analytical ap-
proach to harnessing creativity to solve an identified problem or achieve a goal
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 10 Open Journal of Social Sciences
Table 5. Breakdown of the Parnes-Osborn CPS model.
One Objective finding—identifying the goal
Two Fact finding—gather data about the goal
Three Problem finding—identifying potential problems
Four Idea finding—generating potential solutions
Five Solution finding—developing the solution
Six Acceptance finding—implementing the solution
Source: Adapted from .
. The CPS model treats creativity as a tool that can be focused and used to
generate solutions through an open, conscious and systemized approach whereas
Wallas’s model looks at creativity as a process that illuminates ideas for potential
solutions through the subconscious of an individual, which can be a random and
closed process. When comparing the CPS model to Rossman’s model they both
favor a rational and analytical approach to identifying the problem and imple-
mentation of the solution but differ in approach at the illumination stage where
Rossman sees creativity as an unexplained process from which ideas emerge.
Koberg and Bagnall  put forward the “Universal Traveller Model” which
has seven steps and again presents a balance between the imaginative and ana-
lytical aspects of creativity as well as a systematic approach to the development
of the idea, generation of options, analysis and practical thinking. Step one of
this model asks that that the user accepts the situation as it stands and to view
this as a challenge unlike the other stage models where at step one the user is
asked to; prepare for the problem or issue (Wallas), observe the problem or issue
(Rossman), point to the problem or issue (Osborn) and find the problem or is-
Koberg and Bagnall present their model (Table 6) as a map and the creative
process as like taking a journey, starting with the problem and ending with a so-
lution, using a process that they describe as “universally relevant” in that “any
problem, dream or aspiration, no matter its size or degree of complexity, can
benefit from the same logical and orderly “systematic” process employed to solve
world level problems’ . They based their model on the study of Cybernetics,
human control systems, employing the systematic approach used to develop a
model that consciously controls creativity to design solutions to problems. They
state that the creative “problem solving (design) process” is a “sequence of stag-
es∙∙∙ on a journey to a destination” which once experienced and learnt is interna-
lized by the individual . The steps in their model “need not be linear” 
which allows for the random nature of the creative process, this was also recog-
nized by Wallas who stated, “it is unlikely that creative procedure can ever by
strictly formulated” . The seven steps in their model were also identified by
Koberg and Bagnallas alternating between being divergent or convergent as well
as having an evaluation step at the end of the process for review and planning.
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 11 Open Journal of Social Sciences
Table 6. Breakdown of the Koberg & Bagnall “universal traveler” model.
One Accept the situation (as a challenge)
Two Analyze (to discover the “world of the problem”)
Three Define (the main issues and goals)
Four Ideate (to generate options)
Five Select (to choose among options)
Six Implement (to give physical form to the idea)
Seven Evaluate (to review and plan again)
Source: Adapted from .
This contrasts with the other stage models where the focus is on verification of
the solution (Wallas), testing of the solution (Rossman), Judging the solution
(Osborn) and accepting/implementing the solution (Parnes-Osborn).
Models of creativity have also been developed to reflect certain contexts and
specific environments such as engineering, commercial and business planning.
These models still look to achieve a balance of creative and analytical thinking.
An example of this is a model put forward for creative strategic planning by
Bandrowski’s process for creative strategic planning. In this model (Table 7)
Bandrowski places “judgment” in the middle as an important part of the analyt-
ical part of the process and he specifies the specific creative skills that are to be
used to achieve the result through the process including skills in insight devel-
opment, creative leaps, and creative contingency planning .
Other models also look at providing a greater proportion to the external reali-
ty that an individual is applying their creativity to as well as the internal
processes that they are employing, an example of this is the model put forward
by Fritz as the “process for creation” . He identifies the beginning of the
process as the creative acts of conception and vision followed by analysis of cur-
rent reality, action, evaluation, public scrutiny (building momentum), and com-
pletion as well as seeing the creative process is cyclical in nature-“living with
your creation” being a meaningful end part of the process that leads to the next
creative conception and vision.
Fritz’s model, which is shown in Table 8 focuses on the creative aspects of the
individual and was sceptical of formulaic approaches to the classification of the
creative process presented by other models. The stages identified in the models
of Wallas, Rossman and Osborn focused on the identification of the problem
and the application of a creative solution in contrast to Fritz whose focus is on
the individual and the identification of problems and creative problem solving
through their actions. The actions of individuals are fundamental to the identi-
fication of a problem as well as its solution and the level of motivation that an
individual has affects these actions. A range of factors can impact on motivation
including autonomy, ownership, influence, reward, challenge as well as personal
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 12 Open Journal of Social Sciences
Table 7. Breakdown of the Brandowskis model for creative strategic planning.
Analysis standard planning, insight development
Creativity creative leaps, strategic connections
Judgment concept building, critical judgment
Planning action planning, creative contingency planning
Action flexible implementation, monitoring results
Source: Adapted from .
Table 8. Breakdown of the fritz’ process for creation.
Two Vision VIV Vision
Three Current reality
Four Take action
Five Adjust, learn, evaluate, adjust
Six Building momentum
Eight Living with your creation
Source: Adapted from .
behaviour characteristics. In the literature relating to the motivation of staff
working in organizations’ these factors can be identified; being in control, hav-
ing independence, owning and influencing your own work   ; re-
quirements to perform, achieve targets and timescales   .
6. Innovation: Social Housing
A significant amount of the literature identifies looks at innovation within social
housing relating to the design and build of housing, reduced carbon usage and
sustainable construction -. Innovation in technological advances in
medicine and health care which is applied to housing services, mostly used by
elderly people through telecare and assistive technologies -. There is very
limited literature relating to innovation across the whole services provided by
Housing Associations as social housing providers. Two studies that looked at
innovation in HAs were undertaken by Walker & Jeanas  and a further study
undertaken by Walker
. Both used a two-dimensional typology put
forward by Osborn  to look at innovations within their research studies.
This model built on the traditional split of innovation between product and
process allowing for “innovation to occur at any stage of the life cycle thereby hig-
hlighting discontinuity (innovation) and continuity (organizational development)
along the dimensions of services and users” . Within the two-dimensional
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 13 Open Journal of Social Sciences
model, the first dimension focuses on the impact of organizational change upon
the services that are delivered, and these are identified as existing or new ones
which also includes the discontinuity of services. The second dimension focuses
on the relationship of an organizational change to its users both new and exist-
ing as well as how their needs are met “which involves end-user discontinuity”
Four types of innovation were identified: the first is total innovation which in-
cludes “discontinuous change that is new to the organization and serves a new
user group”, the second is expansionary innovation whereby “the change in-
volves offering an existing service of the organization to a new user group”, the
third is evolutionary innovation whereby “the change involves providing a new
service to the existing user group of an organization” and the final classification
is developmental innovation where “the services of an organization to its exist-
ing user group are modified or improved” .
The information within Table 9 is plotted on an XY graph format whereby
the two-dimensional typology and innovations identified are plotted against the
four categories in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Typology of social policy innovation. Source: .
Table 9. Typology of public services innovation.
New Total Innovation Evolutionary
Existing Expansionary Developmental
Source: Adapted from .
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 14 Open Journal of Social Sciences
In the first study, Walker and Jeanas  researched innovation in three
housing associations in the late 1990s. The organizations’ selected for the case
studies represented the larger HAs in England who provided the most rented
accommodation. A main problem identified with the case study approach was
that it was not possible to gain a representative sample of housing providers as
the sector is so diverse with no two organizations’ being the same . The
identified innovations were focused under six areas of activity: cultural change;
customer focus/information technology; diversification; new management tech-
niques; organizational expansion and organizational structure. Many of these
were internally focused emphasizing service changes and reflecting the financial,
commercial, customer service and performance within an operating environ-
ment that was constantly changing and becoming increasingly competitive.
From the study (Table 10), the researchers found that in relation to new in-
novations change is discontinuous and radical, though more limited, incremen-
tal innovation takes place through change. It was found that the iterative and
dynamic nature of innovation make the process of classifying them problematic
not only because this process can be subjective but also because the innovations
themselves change through time. A further study  carried out on innovation
in housing associations also measured innovations that had been identified
against Osborn’s two-dimensional typology. Both studies highlighted several
common themes that emerged from the transformation of the sector during the
1990s including: diversification of activity into regeneration, community facili-
ties, care, special needs, private renting and contract management; the adoption
of new organizational forms through mergers and group structures; a greater
emphasis on a business ethos and management; and, a changing regulatory re-
gime   .
This study shows that there is a process connected with innovation and that
there are different definitions within the academic literature about innovation.
Innovation can be considered as being product or process that is new or is existing
Table 10. Classification of case study HA innovations.
Total Diversification Private Renting
Network Form, Demonstration Project
Expansionary Organization Expansion Stock Transfers, Mergers, Contract
Management, Geographical Growth
Developmental New Management Techniques Business Focus, Performance Targets
Source: Adapted from .
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 15 Open Journal of Social Sciences
but has been improved. There are different models regarding the process of in-
novation and from these it can be identified that there is a strong link to creativ-
ity as part of the innovation process. In looking at the application of innovation
in social housing as part of the public sector this study has focused on two aca-
demic studies which looked at Housing Associations and Innovation and these
identified that innovations can be seen with a typology as new products or ser-
vices or improvements on existing products and services. Further research could
be undertaken to look at innovation within the social housing sector within the
United Kingdom within the twenty first century.
The author acknowledges help from his PhD supervisors at the University of
Cumbria in researching the area of innovation.
 Godin, B. (2008) Innovation: The History of a Category. Montreal: Project of the
Intellectual History of Innovation, Working Paper No. 1, p. 26.
 Skinner, M. and Hanlon, N. (2015) Ageing Resource Communities: New Frontiers
of Rural Population Change, Community Development and Voluntarism.
Routledge, New York, London.
 Bannet, E. (2007) Quixotes, Imitations and Transatlantic Genres.
, 40, 553-569.
 Force, P. (2005) Innovation as Spiritual Exercise: Montaigne and Pascal.
the History of Ideas
, 66, 17-35. https://doi.org/10.1353/jhi.2005.0026
 Cole, B. (1995) Titan and the Idea of Originality in the Renaissance. In: Ladis, A.,
Wood, C. and Eiland, W.U., Eds.,
Craft of Art
, University of Georgia Press, Athens,
 Macleod, C. (1988) Inventing the Industrial Revolution: The England Patent System
1660-1800. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
 Popplow, M. (1998) Protection and Promotion: Privileges for Inventions and Books
for Machines in the Early Modern Period.
History of Technology
, 20, 103-124.
 Berg, M. (1999) New Commodities, Luxuries and their Consumers in Eighteenth-
Century England. In: Berg, M. and Clifford, H., Eds.,
Consumers and Luxury
sumer Culture in Europe
1650-1850, Manchester University Press, Manchester,
 Berg, M. (2002) From Imitation to Invention: Creating Commodities in Eighteenth-
Economic History Review
, 55, 1-30.
 Clifford, H. (1999) Concepts of Invention, Identity and Imitation in the London
and Provincial Metal-Working Trades, 1750-1800.
Journal of Design History
 Dumont, L. (1977) From Mandeville to Marx. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
 Branigan, A. (1981) The Social Basis of Scientific Discoveries. Cambridge University
Press, New York.
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 16 Open Journal of Social Sciences
 Sweezy, P.M. (1968) Karl Marx and the Industrial Revolution. In: Eagly, R.V., Ed.,
Ideology and Economic Theory
, Wayne State University Press, Detroit,
 Rosenberg, N. (1976) Marx as a Student of Technology.
, 28, 56-77.
 Stern, B.J. (1927) Social Factors in Medical Progress. Columbia University Press,
 Schon, D.A. (1967) Technology and Change: The Impact of Invention and Innova-
tion on American Social and Economic Development. Delta Book, New York.
 Schumpeter, J.A. (1928) The Instability of Capitalism.
The Economic Journal
 Schumpeter, J.A. (1934) The Theory of Economic Development: An Enquiry into
Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest and the Business Cycle. Oxford University Press,
 Schumpeter, J.A. (1939) Business Cycles: A Theoretical, Historical, and Statistical
Analysis of the Capitalist Process. McGraw-Hill, New York.
 Schumpeter, J.A. (1942) The Process of Creative Destruction. In:
, Chapter 7, Harper, New York.
 Schumpeter, J.A. (1947) The Creative Response in Economic History.
, 7, 149-159. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022050700054279
 Fagerberg, J., Mowery, D.C. and Nelson, R.R., Eds. (2005) The Oxford Handbook of
Innovation. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
 Malerba, F. and Brusoni, S., Eds. (2007) Perspectives on Innovation. Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618390
 Linton, J.D. (2009) De-Babelizing the Language of Innovation.
 OECD/Eurostat (2005) The Oslo Manual. OECD, Paris.
 Wolfe, R. (1994) Organizational Innovation: Review, Critique and Suggested Re-
Journal of Management Studies
, 31, 405-431.
 Mulgary, G. and Albury, D. (2003) Innovation in the Public Sector. Strategy Unit,
Cabinet Office, London.
 National Audit Office (NAO) (2009) Innovation across Central Government. The
stationery Office, London.
 Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) (2009) Innovation in the Public Sector.
Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
 Confederation of British Industry (CBI)/QUINETIQ (2008) Excellence in Service
 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (2008) Innovation Research Initia-
tive Distributed Projects Cost Specification. ESRC, Swindon.
 Damanpour, F. and Schneider, M. (2009) Characteristics of Innovation and Innova-
tion Adoption in Public Organisations: Assessing the Role of Managers.
Public Resources and Theory
, 19, 495-522. https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/mun021
 De Vires, H.A., Bekkers, V.J.J.M. and Tummers, L.G. (2014) Innovations in the
Public Sector: A Systematic Review.
Ottawa IRSPM Conference
, 9-11 April 2014.
 Evers, A., Ewert, B. and Brandsen, T., Eds. (2014) Social Innovations for Social Co-
hesion: 77 Cases from 20 European Cities 2010-14. European Commission, Ni-
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 17 Open Journal of Social Sciences
 NESTA (2012) Plan 1: The Case for Innovation Led Growth. NESTA, London, 17.
 Seaden, G. and Manseau, A. (2001) Public Policy and Construction Innovation.
Building Research & Information
, 29, 182-196.
 Cropley, D.H., Kaufman, J.C. and Cropley, A.J. (2011) Measuring Creativity for In-
Journal of Technology Management & Innovation
 Klein, J.L. and Tremblay, D.G. (2011) Cultural Creation and Social Innovation as
the Basis for Building a Cohesive City. Montreal, Canada.
 Florida, R. (2005) Cities and Creative Class. Psychology Press, New York.
 Markusen, A. (2006) Urban Development and the Politics of a Creative Class: Evi-
dence from a Study of Artists.
Environment and Planning A
, 38, 1921-1940.
 Vinacke, W. (1953) The Psychology of Thinking. McGraw Hill, New York.
 Wertheimer, M. (1945) Production Thinking. Harper, New York.
 Plsek, P. (1996) Working Paper: Models for the Creative Process. Directed Creativity.
 Fritz, R. (1991) Creating. Fawcett, New York.
 Jung, C.G. (1928) Contributions to Analytical Psychology. Kegan, Trench & Trub-
 Barron, F. (1988) Putting Creativity to Work. In: Sternberg, R., Ed.,
The Nature of
, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
 Weiberg, R.W. (1993) Creativity: Beyond the Myth of Genius. Freeman & Co., New
 Wallas, G. (1926) Art of Thought. Brace and Company, New York, 79.
 Simonton, D.K. (1999) Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity.
Oxford University Press, Oxford.
 Truman, S. (2011) A Generative Framework for Creative Learning: A Tool for
Planning Creative-Collaborative Tasks in the Classroom. Transnational Working
Papers, No. 1101. Border Crossing.
 Torrance, E.P. (1988) The Nature of Creativity as Manifest in Its Testing. In: Stern-
berg, R.J., Ed.,
The Nature of Creativity
, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
 Rossman, J. (1931) The Psychology of the Inventor. Inventors Publishing, Wash-
 Osborn, A. (1953) Applied Imagination. Charles Scribner, New York, 114.
 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997) Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with
Everyday Life. Basic Books, New York, 7.
 Osborn, A. (1952) Your Creative Power: How to Use Imagination. Charles Scribner,
 Osborn, A. (1963) Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative
Problem Solving. 3rd Edition, Charles Scribner, New York.
 Osborn, A. (1948) Your Creative Power. Charles Scribner, New York.
 Rossiter, J.R. and Lillien, G.L. (1994) New “Brainstorming” Principles.
Journal of Management
, 19, 61-72. https://doi.org/10.1177/031289629401900104
 Parnes, S.J. (1967) Creative Behaviour Guidebook. Scribner, New York.
 Koberg, D. and Bagnall, J. (1974) The Universal Traveller. W Kaufman, Los Altos,
CA, p. 7, 16, 27.
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 18 Open Journal of Social Sciences
 Bandrowski, J.F. (1985) Creative Planning Throughout the Organization. American
Management Association, New York.
 Bailyn, L. (1985) Autonomy in the Industrial R & D Lab.
Human Resource Man-
, 24, 129-146. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrm.3930240204
 Paolillo, J.G. and Brown, W.B. (1978) How Organisation Factors Affect R & D In-
, 21, 12-15.
 Pelz, D.C. and Andrews, F.M. (1966) Scientists in Organisations: Productive Cli-
mates for Research and Development. Wiley, New York.
 Amabile, T.M. and Gitomer, J. (1984) Children’s Artistic Creativity: Effects of
Choice in Task Materials.
Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin
, 10, 209-215.
 Amabile, T.M. and Gryskiewicz, N. (1989) The Creative Environment Scales: The
Work Environment Inventory.
Creative Research Journal
, 2, 321-254.
 Amabile, T.M. (1994) The Delicate Balance of Managing for Creativity.
R & D In-
, 3, 1-9.
 Kaluarachi, Y. (2015) 8. Challenges to Leaders in Promoting Innovative and Sus-
tainable Social housing In the UK. In: Opoku, A. and Ahmed, V., Eds.,
and Sustainability in the Built Environment
, Taylor and Francis Group, Abingdon,
 Marchesi, M., Kim, S.G. and Matt, D.T. (2015) Assessing the Design Innovation
Potential of Timber Prefabricated Housing through Axiomatic Design.
International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
, Houston, TX,
13-19 November 2015, 10 p. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2015-50517
 Hjort, B. and Widén, K. (2015) Introduction of Sustainable Low-Cost Housing in
Ethiopia—An Innovation Diffusion Perspective.
Procedia Economics and Finance
21, 454-460. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2212-5671(15)00199-9
 Nanyam, V.N., Basu, R., Sawhney, A. and Prasad, J.K. (2015) Selection Framework
for Evaluating Housing Technologies.
, 123, 333-341.
 Forster, A.M., Fernie, S., Carter, K., Walker, P. and Thomson, D. (2015) Innovation
in Low Carbon Construction Technologies: An Historic Analysis for Obviating De-
, 33, 52-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/SS-03-2014-0013
 Madeddu, M., Gallent, N. and Mace, A. (2015) Space in New Homes: Delivering
Functionality and Liveability through Regulation or Design Innovation?
, 86, 73-95. https://doi.org/10.3828/tpr.2015.5
 Abbott, C., Sexton, M. and Barlow, C. (2015) Regulation and Innovation in New
Build Housing. In: Orstavik, F., Dainty, A. and Abbott, C., Eds.,
, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, 79-88.
 Pässilä, P., Pulkka, L. and Junnila, S. (2015) How to Succeed in Low-Energy Hous-
ing—Path Creation Analysis of Low-Energy Innovation Projects.
 Springer, D. and German, A. (2015) New Whole-House Solutions Case Study: Zero
Energy Ready Home Multifamily Project: Mutual Housing at Spring Lake (No.
 Wigfield, A., Moore, S., Buse, C. and Fry, G. (2012) Workforce Development for
Assisted Living Technology: Understanding Roles, Delivery and Workforce Needs.
S. P. Taylor
10.4236/***.2017.***** 19 Open Journal of Social Sciences
Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities University of
Leeds (CIRCLE), Found, 35.
 Marriot, P., Hinshaw, K., Nayar, R. and Emmerson, C. (2013) Development of a
Multi Matrix Multi Partner Telehealth Model in Pregnancy Care in South of Tyne
and Wear, UK.
International Journal of Integrated Care
, 13, 1-2.
 Parker, S.G. (2013) Telecare for an Ageing Population?
Age and Ageing
, 42, 424-425.
 Hunter, R.H., Sykes, K., Lowman, S.G., Duncan, R., Satariano, W.A. and Belza, B.
(2011) Environmental and Policy Change to Support Healthy Aging.
Aging & Social Policy
, 23, 354-371. https://doi.org/10.1080/08959420.2011.605642
 Williamson, T. (2011) Grouchy Old Men? Promoting Older Men’s Mental Health
and Emotional Well Being.
Working with Older People
, 15, 164-176.
 Wilder, A.R. (2011) A Review of: “Aging Friendly Technology for Health and Inde-
pendence: 8th International Conference on Smart Homes and Health Telematics,
Journal of Technology in Human Services
, 29, 142-146.
 Walker, R. and Jeanas, E. (1999) Innovation in a Regulated Service: The Case of
English Housing Associations.
Paper Given at ENHR
The Process of Change in
, Laboratrio Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Lisboa, Portugal,
27-28 May 1999.
 Walker, R., Jeanas, E. and Rowlands, R. (2002) Measuring Innovation—Applying
the Literature-Based Innovation Output Indicator to Public Services.
, 80, 201-214. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9299.00300
 Osborn, S.P. (1998) Voluntary Organisations and Innovation in Public Services.
 Clapham, D. and Evans, A. (1998) From Exclusion to Inclusion: Helping to Creat-
ing Successful Tenancies and Communities. Hastoe Housing Association, London.
 Mullins, D. and Riseborough, M. (1999) Changing with the Times. University of
 Walker, R. (2000) The Changing Management of Social Housing: The Impact of
Externalisation and Managerialism.
, 15, 281-299.