There is a resurging interest in automation because of rapid progress of machine learning and AI. In our perspective, innovation is not an exemption from their expansion. This situation gives us an opportunity to reflect on a direction of future innovation studies. In this conceptual paper, we propose a framework of innovation process by exploiting the concept of unit process. Deploying it in the context of automation, we indicate the important aspects of innovation process, i.e. human, organizational, and social factors. We also highlight the cognitive and interactive underpinnings at micro- and macro-levels of the process. We propose to embrace all those factors in what we call Innovation-Automation-Strategy cycle (IAS). Implications of IAS for future research are also put forward.