Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Innovation in crisis: The role of ‘exaptive relations’ for medical device development in response to COVID-19

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-07-19, 15:27 authored by Steffan James, Zheng LiuZheng Liu, Victoria Stephens, Gareth R.T. White

 The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in huge disruption to the healthcare sector. In response to this, there have been collaborative efforts between many different public and private organizations to foster medical innovations. The effect of crisis upon innovation, particularly medical innovation, remains a debatable subject. In addition, the role of inter-personal relations is becoming more widely acknowledged as a critical feature of innovation. Drawing upon exaptation literature, the study aims to understand the nature of the micro-relations within medical innovations that are undertaken in response to COVID-19. The findings of this paper contribute to the limited literature that examines the performance of medical innovation in response to crisis. In addition to confirming the importance of exaptive pools, exaptive events, and exaptive forums in fostering serendipitous developments, the study makes a contribution to theory by identifying a further form of serendipitous encounter that is ‘exaptive relations’. 


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Technological Forecasting and Social Change




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James, S., Liu, Z., Stephens, V. and White, G.R. (2022) 'Innovation in crisis: The role of ‘exaptive relations’ for medical device development in response to COVID-19', Technological Forecasting and Social Change, p.121863.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Management

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Zheng Liu

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Welsh Centre for Business and Management Research

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