Volume 34, Issue 3, September 2019
Sergio F. Martínez
What is innovation?
New lessons from biology
During the 19th century, evolutionary models of innovation followed a famous thesis of continuity, according to which methods and explanatory patterns of biology should have an important say in the social sciences. In the 20th century, this thesis was considered unacceptable as part of the sharp separation of biology from the social sciences. Recent advances in the biological sciences suggest a way in which a version of the thesis of continuity can be reinstated, to suggest new ways of explaining innovation in the social sciences. Key kinds of innovation can be explained in terms of the evolution of robust complex systems, interpreted as processes of path creation.