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Defining novelty


In one of my working papers I've been searching for a good definition about the essence of my research. In earlier work, concepts as creativity or innovation have been used instead of novelty. Those concepts are biased and do not address the actual research problem.

Creativity is artistic work or original ideas, while novelty may be unusual and is more neutral. The problem with innovation can be explained by categorizing useful knowledge in proposition and prescriptive (see Joel Mokyr). New prescriptive knowledge is innovation and new propositional knowledge is discovery. Innovation as such covers only half.

Anything "in the head" is knowledge; useful knowledge can be seen as "tested" knowledge. The difference between novelty and new useful knowledge is exactly the absence of verification. Actions need to be taken to investigate the opportunity. The novelty expectation and the actual new knowledge may of course be significantly different, probably leading to spillover effects.