Innovation as a Two-sided Coin with Special Consideration of Analogies


  • Gerald Steiner University of Graz


innovation, analogy, systems thinking, Darwin


Innovation is not only fruitful, it can also be harmful and might even cause serious damage within the organization or within its environment. Based on a systems thinking perspective it is therefore the main objective within this paper to have a look at the often overlooked – and at first glance negative - side effects, and their interaction with the fruitful effects of an innovation-orientated organization. Or to put it differently, the objective is to provide a holistic perspective of innovation from a systems thinking point of view. The origin and underlying mechanisms are of core interest. Further, inappropriate application of the analogy-based generation of innovation and potential counteractions is discussed. Similar to Fritjof Capra’s thoughts on a dynamic balance between Yin and Yang, various different effects on innovation and creativity have to be taken into account. The second part of this paper discusses a specific example of a potential fruitful outcome along with a simultaneously potential harmful outcome and,the application of analogy-based learning for technical and socio-economic development with special regard to Darwin’s concept of natural evolution.

Author Biography

Gerald Steiner, University of Graz

Researcher and lecturer Responsible for: creativity research / industrial design / sustainability research (co)



How to Cite

Steiner, G. (2006). Innovation as a Two-sided Coin with Special Consideration of Analogies. Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2006, Sonoma, CA, USA. Retrieved from



Systems Applications in Business & Industry