Generative Emergence: A New Discipline of Organizational, Entrepreneurial, and Social Innovation

New book by Benyamin Lichtenstein: “Culminating more than 30 years of research into evolution, complexity science, organizing and entrepreneurship, this book provides insights to scholars who are increasingly using emergence to explain social phenomena. In addition to providing the first comprehensive definition and framework for understanding emergence, it is the first publication of data from a year-long experimental study of emergence in high-potential ventures—a week-by-week longitudinal analysis of their processes based on over 750 interviews and 1000 hours of on-site observation.  These data, combined with reports from over a dozen other studies, confirm the dynamics of the five phase model in multiple contexts…

Key insights from the book include:

  • Findings which show a major difference between an aspiration that generates a purposive drive for generative emergence, versus a performance-driven crisis that sparks organizational change and transformation.  This difference has important implications for studies of entrepreneurship, innovation, and social change.
  • A definition of emergence based on 100+ years of work in philosophy and philosophy of science, evolutionary studies, sociology, and organization science.
  • The most inclusive review of complexity science published, to help reinvigorate and legitimize those methods in the social sciences.
  • The Dynamic States Model—a new approach for understanding the non-linear growth and development of new ventures.
  • In-depth examinations of more than twenty well-known emergence studies, to reveal their shared dynamics and underlying drivers.
  • Proposals for applying the five-phase model—as a logic of emergence—to social innovation, organizational leadership, and entrepreneurial development.”