Strategy & Innovation Management Lectures
Lecture 2: Creativity
1. Defining creativity
c. What defines a creative idea?
d. Creativity vs. Innovation
2. Phases of Idea Journey
3. Managing creativity?
a. Persons, groups, organization
b. Leadership & creativity
c. Rewarding creaticity?
Why is creativity important?
- motivates generation of new ideas: necessary but not sufficient criterion for innovation.
- results in product differentiation: driver of firm performance
- is a strategic resource that is valuable, rare, and imperfectly imitable and non-substitutable (RBV)
Myths about creativity:
1. pre-ordained skill (= predestined)
- therefore, I don’t have it
2. you can’t learn it
3. you can’t teach it
- therefore, it is not a transferable skill
4. it belongs to art, not to business
creativity can be developed, thus it can be managed in the sense that the manager can stimulate
intrinsic motivation: if intrinsic motivation is stimulated, then everyone can be creative. You need
creativity everywhere in the firm.
Myths about managing creativity (Amabile, 2000):
1. Money is a creativity motivator no, since people will just do that what is just enough, and
nothing more. Also, people may choose the easiest/less risky ideas.
2. Time pressure fuels creativity time pressure is a distraction for employees, as they will focus on
time too much.
3. Fear forces breakthroughs we have this preconception that you have to feel miserable/sad/etc.
before you become very creative. Not true! It’s joy and love that promotes creativity.
4. Competition beats collaboration not true, since it impedes information/ideas exchange and
knowledge sharing. If there is internal competition, people will keep certain ideas for themselves.
5. A streamlined organization is a creative organization we think that we have to lay off ‘lazy
people’, so downsize in order to boost creativity. But if people hear about this announcement,
people will feel anxiety and this will distract people from doing their work properly. Amabile (2000)
argues that downsizing should happen very quickly.
The root causes of not being creative fear of many things… people will be put in a socially
vulnerable position, as there is much uncertainty. So people tend to oppose change etc.
Multiple levels of creativity.
What is creativity?
Creativity is a mental process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts.
Output perspective: cognitive effort leads to expression of new ideas.
Multiple levels of creativity: person, process, product, or creative environment (person +
organization + context).
a) Creative process: creativity consists largely of re-arranging what we know in order to find our
what we do not know.
b) Creative product: the extent to which the new product differs from competing alternatives in
a way that is meaningful to customers.
c) Organizational creativity: the extent to which a firm (a complex social system) creates
valuable, novel products/services/ideas/procedures/processes.
- What makes the difference between a creative and noncreative idea: novelty! But it has to be
useful as well = meaningfulness/appropriateness (Amabile, 1988).
- Besemer & O’Quin (1986): novelty (original, surprise), resolution (valuable, logical, useful,
understandable), elaboration and synthesis (elegance, well-crafted).
- Jackson & Messick (1965): original and unexpected (novel, unique), appropriate and meaningful,
transformational (combine elements that defy tradition leading to new perspective: “breakthrough in
thinking”), condensed and simple (not complex and easy to understand).
However, something can be uncreative at the start but turn out to be creative in the end.
EX: telegram, radio, etc.
Henry Ford once said: ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me: a faster
What he is trying to say here is that people don’t know what they want until you show it to them!
Hermann & Felfe (2014) quantitative and qualitative creativity; leadership styles
Divergent thinking: intellectual ability to think of many original, diverse and elaborate ideas. You
need out of the box thinking/imagination = qualitative creativity; needs transformational leadership
Convergent thinking: intellectual ability to logically evaluate, critique and choose the best idea from
a selection of ideas. (sometimes combining several ideas into one main idea). You need logic =
quantitative creativity; needs transactional leadership style.
you need both of them.
Why does literature associate creativity more strongly with divergent thinking?
Because you need creativity to explore new and useful product ideas.
Creativity vs. Innovation:
Creativity: production of novel ideas that are appropriate and useful to a given situation.
Innovation: successful implementation of creative ideas by an organization.
When does creativity (idea generation) lead to innovation (idea implementation)? Phases of Idea
Perry-Smith & Mannucci (2017):
1. Idea generation: need= cognitive flexibility weak ties beneficial
2. Idea elaboration: need= support strong ties beneficial
3. Idea championing: need= influence & legitimacy structural holes (sparseness) beneficial
4. Idea implementation: need= shared vision & understanding structural closure beneficial
Tie Strength (relational; people with who you have a weaker relationship tend to be more valuable
for you in finding the right job) vs. Network Structure (it depends not so much on relationships, but
more on the network in which you are positioned in).