If we adopt a network-thinking view, the different patterns observed in a kaleidoscope may be likened to the reconfiguration of existing subsystems viewed through a new lens, and adding a new element facilitates the generation of multiple new patterns. Is this reconfiguration associated with existing technologies and markets, or does it introduce a new technology or build new infrastructure to support ongoing innovation? A recent historical example of a new technology stimulating multiple application patterns is the broad-ranging impact of GPS technology.
Innovation is a social process involving interaction between actors at a personal and institutional level, and this is discussed in this chapter. Innovation is about the generation and implementation of ideas, introducing social change. Ideas are at the core of an innovation, but still, an innovation champion needs to be enthusiastic about developing and applying the idea for it to progress. Accessible resources and supporting infrastructure are also needed to facilitate the emergence of an innovation via an evolutionary process. A particular idea may have a short or long lifecycle before it is replaced, or it can remain as the foundation for other ideas. Matters of timing are important in realizing widespread adoption, and we introduce the concept of kairotic thinking, drawing on Ancient Greek observations about timely action connected to place and resources. A case study framed in the context of an architectural description (see chapter 3) illustrates the relation between a particular project and the innovation ecosystem in which it is embedded.