Innovation by demand

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of demand and its role in innovation

By Andrew McMeekin, Mark Tomlinson, Ken Green and Vivien Walsh

Innovation by demand

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8284-9
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: November 2011
  • BIC Category: Economics, finance, business & management / Economic theory & philosophy, Economics, finance, business & management / Business strategy, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Strategic Planning, Economic theory & philosophy, Sociology
  • Series: New Dynamics of Innovation and Competition


The structure and regulation of consumption and demand has recently become of great interest to sociologists and economists alike, and at the same time there is growing interest in trying to understand the patterns and drivers of technological innovation. This book, newly available in paperback, brings together a range of sociologists and economists to study the role of demand and consumption in the innovative process.

The book starts with a broad conceptual overview of ways that the sociological and economics literatures address issues of innovation, demand and consumption. It goes on to offer different approaches to the economics of demand and innovation through an evolutionary framework, before reviewing how consumption fits into evolutionary models of economic development. Food consumption is then looked at as an example of innovation by demand, including an examination of the dynamic nature of socially-constituted consumption routines.

The book includes a number of illuminating case studies, including an analysis of how black Americans use consumption to express collective identity, and a number of demand-innovation relationships within matrices or chains of producers and users or other actors, including service industries such as security, and the environmental performance of companies. The involvement of consumers in innovation is looked at, including an analysis of how consumer needs may be incorporated in the design of high-tech products. The final chapter argues for the need to build an economic sociology of demand that goes from micro-individual through to macro-structural features.


1. Innovation by demand? An introduction
2. Social mechanisms generating demand: a review and manifesto - Alan Warde
3. There's more to the economics of consumption than (almost) unconstrained utility maximisation - G. M. Peter Swann
4. Variety, growth and demand - Pier Paolo Saviotti
5. Preferences and novelty - a multidisciplinary perspective - Wilhelm Ruprecht
6. Social routines and the consumption of food - Mark Tomlinson & Andrew McMeekin
7. Social categorization and group identification: How African-Americans shape their collective identity through consumption - Virág Molnár & Michéle Lamont
8. Hyperembedded demand and uneven innovation: female labour in a male-dominated service industry - Bonnie H. Erickson
9. Greening organisations: Purchasing, consumption and innovation - Ken Green, Barbara Morton & Steve New
10. Information and communication technologies and the role of consumers in innovation - Leslie Haddon
11. The incorporation of user needs in telecom product design - Vivien Walsh, Carole Cohen & Albert Richards
12. Markets, supermarkets and the macro-social shaping of demand. An instituted economic process approach - Mark Harvey


Andrew McMeekin is a lecturer based at CRIC (Centre for Research in Innovation and Competition), The University of Manchester and UMIST. Mark Tomlinson is a lecturer based at CRIC (Centre for Research in Innovation and Competition), The University of Manchester and UMIST. The late Ken Green was a lecturer at Manchester School of Management, UMIST. Vivien Walsh is a lecturer at Manchester School of Management, UMIST

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