Consumer societies position innovation in a framework that essentializes the new. The assumed need for innovative technologies, life-styles and fashion is based on an internalized reversal of the relationship between ‘needs’ and ‘motives’. Primary needs are replaced by the desire for the new. The implicit assumption about consumers‘ self-understanding relates to their interest in the new and their willingness to be informed about novelties. However, ethnographies of quotidian handling of innovation show the importance of reliable conduct.
The readiness ‘to learn new things‘ is limited. Innovation depends less on the degree of novelty than on the context in which it occurs.