Learning by discovery during innovation development

Douglas Polley, Andrew H. Van De Ven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In prior research we found that trial-and-error learning was not present in the early pre-market period of innovation development but clearly evident in the market-entry commercialization period. The ambiguous and uncertain environment associated with early innovation development also suggests that learning by imitation is unlikely due to the newness of the innovation activities. This leaves the organization with either no learning or a more complicated type of knowledge acquisition not specified by our model of trial-and-error learning. This paper explores learning during highly ambiguous conditions and how it relates to theories and to practices of innovation development and organizational learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-882
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Technology Management
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1996


  • Innovation
  • Medical technology
  • Organizational learning


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