From hi-tech to hi-sense innovation: new experiences in value creation through meanings and relations

Product and service concepts show a constant change thanks to innovation practices and
theoretical evolution. In recent years products have become a source of experiences for the
customers and a means of collaboration as customer knowledge becomes more and more
important for innovation, in an overall context in which the dominant logic of marketing is
based on services and value creation is the result of co-production and co-creation processes.
In this paper the focus is on the new challenge for firms: to gain competitive advantage in the
immaterial economy, where the battle is for sense-making. According to recent literature
developments, sense-making is at the centre of modern competition and is a major source of
innovation in companies’ offers. Meanings and relations construction have become major
objectives in innovative practices of advanced firms, which are more and more involved in
“soft” side of innovation, where new factors for innovation emerge other than functional
performances and technology per se.
Our paper offers a possible theoretical convergence by considering different contributions in
emerging fields. It also proposes a theoretical model that helps understanding the different
sources and managerial consequences of innovation strategies based on upcoming innovation
drivers. A description of two cases regarding excellent experiences in sense-making is
produced using different explorative methods. The strategic and operative marketing
challenges, as well as the specific hints related to innovation and its factors emphasized in the
paper are then discussed in a final section.

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University of Padova
University of Padova