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Exploring the creative climate in an open innovation arena : Identifying challenges and possibilities

Anna Yström (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Hedvig Aspenberg (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Annika Kumlin (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Publication date: 12 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

By increasing connectivity between multiple partners, the new paradigm of open innovation has been argued to stimulate creativity. However, there are still few empirical studies exploring what influence this new form of organizing for innovation has on the creative climate. The purpose of this paper is to start filling that knowledge gap by exploring the creative climate in an open innovation arena called SAFER, where 26 partner organizations meet to innovate together.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a mixed method consisting of a quantitative creative climate questionnaire complemented by qualitative data gathering through interviews.

Findings

The findings suggest that the networking and cross-functional meetings within the arena are beneficial to facilitate a creative climate, but there are challenges in handling uncertainties such as work identities, information sharing and knowledge transparency.

Practical implications

The arena is found to be rather dependent on interaction with the outside environment, implying that a well-constructed arena from an organizational point of view is in itself not enough to ensure a creative climate. The project organization of the arena makes the general perception of SAFER fragmented, and it is questioned whether such an arena could or should strive for only one creative climate.

Originality/value

The paper presents an interesting example of how introducing open innovation affects the creative climate, and discusses the difficulty of using established methods for assessing the creative climate in the new, emerging forms of organizing for innovation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was partly financed by VINNOVA − Sweden’s Innovation Agency.

Citation

Yström, A., Aspenberg, H. and Kumlin, A. (2015), "Exploring the creative climate in an open innovation arena : Identifying challenges and possibilities", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 70-85. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-08-2013-0085

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited