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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Emergence and Extinction: innovation, progress and change Seminar

13th May 2014, 18:00 to 19:00, to be confirmed, Professor Mark O'Malley

Abstract and bio to follow.

Time and venue to be confirmed.

Series details: Innovation emerges in all walks of life: in business, new products replace old ones; in art, new styles come into fashion; in science, new technologies supersede outmoded ones; in the environment, new species evolve and appear. Different academic disciplines have sought to test these or related propositions about the emergence and extinction of innovation. For some scholars, the emergence of innovation is explained through the diffusion process in which new ideas/products become popular, reach their tipping point and then decline. For others, their studies draw on models of evolution used in biological studies to map out the probability of reproductive selection amongst the population in evolutionary games. 

This interdisciplinary programme will explore different theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding how a subject emerges and subsequently declines. The aim is to look in more detail at how these processes unfold in different contexts: 

  • Understanding the emergence of diffusion of innovation and how innovative ideas propagate in space in a range of areas ranging from management, banking history, research innovation, linguistic changes to energy technologies;
  • The destructive potential of emergences (i.e. does the emergence of something invariably result in the destruction of something else);
  • The role of zeitgeist, or the spirit of the time, in the adoption of new products and ideas;
  • The threshold for mass adoption, and
  • The extent to which all emergences are necessarily temporary. 

This programme of activities will include: 

  1. Six monthly seminars. The monthly seminars are open to all including members of the public as well as practitioners, academic and policy users. Speakers include Dr James Pattison (University of Manchester), Professor Petra Ahrweiler (University College Dublin), Professor Mark Casson (University of Reading), Dr Stefan Heusinkveld (University Amsterdam); and Professor Mark O’Malley (University College Dublin). 
  2. A one-day symposium (spring 2015). This special event is open to all, but to register and request further information, please contact Dr Pojanath 

Contact for more information about this event.