Return to results
Journal articles (2013), Organization Science, 24 (6), pp. 1601-1617

How Paris Gave Rise to Cubism (and Picasso): Ambiguity and Fragmentation in Radical Innovation

In structural analyses of innovation, one substantive question looms large: What makes radical innovation possible if peripheral actors are more likely to originate radical ideas but are poorly positioned to promote them? An inductive study of the rise of Cubism, a revolutionary paradigm that overthrew classic principles of representation in art, results in a model where not only the periphery moves toward the core through collective action, as typically asserted, but the core also moves toward the periphery, becoming more receptive to radical ideas. The fragmentation of the art market in early 20th-century Paris served as the trigger. The proliferation of market niches and growing ambiguity over evaluation standards dramatically reduced the costs of experimentation in the periphery and the ability of the core to suppress radical ideas. A multilevel analysis linking individual creativity, peer networks, and the art field reveals how market developments fostered Spanish Cubist Pablo Picasso’s experiments and facilitated their diffusion in the absence of public support, a coherent movement, and even his active involvement. If past research attests to the importance of framing innovations and mobilizing resources in their support, this study brings attention to shifts in the structure of opportunities to do so. Link to the article

SGOUREV, S. (2013). How Paris Gave Rise to Cubism (and Picasso): Ambiguity and Fragmentation in Radical Innovation. Organization Science, 24(6), pp. 1601-1617.

Keywords : #innovation,-peer-networks,-art-field