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Technology before engineering: How James Bond films mediate between fiction and reality in the portrayal of innovation

: Fritzsche, A.; Dürrbeck, K.


Technovation 92-93 (2020), Art. 102080
ISSN: 0166-4972
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IIS ()

Imaginary technical devices and machinery portrayed in the James Bond films are known to have inspired real innovation activities. This paper investigates the dynamics of cultural entrepreneurship behind this phenomenon. It presents a hermeneutic analysis of the James Bond film series which identifies various patterns in the portrayal of technology which create labels and vocabularies for innovation activities and cognitive legitimacy for their implementation. These patterns have little in common with systematic approaches known from industrial research and development. They are instead related to general strategies of sense-making among users, which neglect practical issues in engineering. Drawing on Suvin's concept of the novum, the paper describes this as a transformational approach to innovation, which is less interested in the actual characteristics of a new artefact, but rather its function as an enabler for change.