The project takes the concept of innovation intermediation as departure for a historical study of the integration of digital computer technology into Swedish business practices. Creating new business practices with new technology can seldom be carried out by a single firm. Technology-based innovation is a process embedded in network relations and facilitated by innovation intermediaries which stand between knowledge and user and facilitate adoption.
The project is organized as seven case studies:
• two innovation intermediaries which were instrumental in the first phase of adoption in the 1950s: the Swedish Board for Computing machinery and the IDP-group.
• the industrial dynamics and influence of three types of knowledge intensive business services (service bureau, IT consulting, management consulting)
• three computer-based innovation processes where intermediaries played a key part: industrial automation, management control and logistics
The project aims at:
• contributing to the Swedish and international understanding of business computing in the mainframe age
• adding substance to the widespread idea of Sweden as an early adopter of information technology
• providing insight into the innovation dynamics of Swedish business in the age of Fordist organisation
• adding a dimension pertaining to ideology and social construction of technology to the innovation literature
• adding an historical dimension to the international scholarship on innovation intermediation