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Design creativity: static or dynamic capability?

Arash Azadegan (New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA)
David Bush (Q‐Logic, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Kevin J. Dooley (Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 19 June 2008




Viewing creativity through the theoretical lens of the resource‐based view, the paper attempts to answer a fundamental question: is design creativity a static or dynamic capability? If static, then firms need to acquire personnel who are already creative. If dynamic, then personnel's creative talents should be developed through training.


In an exploratory controlled experiment of 74 design engineers from ten firms, two forms of training emphasizing design creativity as static or dynamic capability were applied. Creative designs developed by the participants were judged by professionals inside each organization. Results were analyzed using structural equation modeling.


The exploratory findings support the notion that design creativity is a static capability. In tandem, support for design creativity as a dynamic capability, contingent upon personality traits is apparent. Training may help develop some people's creative skills.

Research limitations/implications

Small sample size limited the ability to distinguish the significance of some effects. Further incubation time for training and an added evaluation step by the judges could have resulted in more apparent effects of training.

Practical implications

Finest candidates for recruitment and development may not be identified based on a limited set of characteristics. Selection should be based on a combination of criteria. To gain the most, training programs should be subject to the individuals' learning styles.


Design creativity should be considered as a static characteristic determined upon recruitment (buy), and as a dynamic one developed post hire (make). The exploratory findings suggest a combined buy and modify approach to design creativity.



Azadegan, A., Bush, D. and Dooley, K.J. (2008), "Design creativity: static or dynamic capability?", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 28 No. 7, pp. 636-662.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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