Methods for Studying Innovation Development in the Minnesota Innovation Research Program

Andrew H. Van De Ven, Marshall Scott Poole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes the methods being used by the Minnesota Innovation Research Program to develop and test a process theory of innovation which explains how and why innovations develop over time and what developmental paths may lead to success and failure for different kinds of innovations. After a background description of the longitudinal field research, this paper focuses on the methods being used to examine processes of innovation development. These methods pertain to the selection of cases and concepts, observing change, coding and analyzing event data to identify process patterns, and developing theories to explain observed innovation processes. We believe these methods are applicable to other studies that examine a range of temporal processes, including organizational startup, growth, decline, and adaptation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-335
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • process methods
  • sequence analysis
  • innovation


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