Theory and practice of innovation:
Different perspectives under the same name


Understanding innovation -- where it comes from and how and why it takes place -- is a general and ubiquitous question, in a variety of guises, in many disciplinaries ranging from economics, business management, social studies, behavioural science, evolutionary biology, and mathematics, to name a few. Counter to the practice of innovation, research in this field is kept in ‘black boxes’ with little cross-pollination and sharing of ideas. The workshop takes an open innovation approach and aims to bring the accumulated insights and available expertise present in The University of Oxford, and initiate a platform/environment to support young researchers to share practices and ideas towards an overarching framework for innovation. We invite participants from a large diversity of scientific communities.

Potential questions include, but not limited to:

To start a lively discussion, we have a few speakers from diverse backgrounds to share their works on innovation. The roundtable will open up interactive discussions and act as an opportunity for cross-disciplinary learning and interaction around methods of innovation thinking.

Please bring with your thoughts and discussion points.

Sign-up form
- The event is open to all interested, but, if possible, register to secure your seat since we have a limited space.
- Go to the sign-up form link
16.00 - 18.00 on February 27th (Friday), 2015
Seminar Room,
Institute for New Economic Thinking,
Eagle House, Walton Well Road,
Oxford. OX2 6ED
T: +44 (0)1865 616600
Google Maps


The roundtable is scheduled to last two hours. After introductions from all attendees, three speakers will introduce how innovation has been studied from three different disciplines: humanitarian studies, economics, and mathematics. Afterward, ample time will be given for discussion and contributions from attendees.


Betts, A. & Bloom, L (2014) Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art, UN OCHA, [link]

Betts, A. & Bloom, L. (2013) The two worlds of humanitarian innovation, Refugee Studies Centre working paper series, No. 94

Fu, X. et al (2014) Innovation in low income countries: A survey report, [link]

Youn, H. et. al. (2014) Invention as a Combinatorial Process: Evidence from U.S. Patents, The Journal of Royal Society Interface in Press. [link]

Sole, R.V. et al (2013) The Evolutionary Ecology of Technological Innovations, Complexity 18: 15-27


Louise Bloom
Humanitarian Innovation Project, Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford Department of International Development: Working for the last two and a half years on the Humanitarian Innovation Project, her work has explored the uptake of innovation in humanitarian practice. She is interested in innovation management as it is being acknowledged in international organisations and also innovation as it exists among refugee populations as they make a living and engage in, often informal, markets.
Giacomo Zanello
Technology and Management Centre for Development, Oxford Department of International Development: Trained as an economist, he has a broad interest in the diffusion and creation of innovations in low income countries, both amongst firms and farm households.
Hyejin Youn
Institute for New Economic Thinking at Oxford Martin School, Mathematical Institute: As a theoretical physicist, she is interested in developing mathematical framework to identify and to underlying principles of complex systems: especially, technological innovation (invention and diffusion) and social innovation (social structure change and urbanization)


Louise Bloom

email: send
phone: +44 (0) 1865 281737

Giacomo Zanello

email: send
phone: +44 (1865) 275005

Hyejin Youn

email: send
phone: +44 (0)1865.616594