Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey: Volume 75

Cover of Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey
Subject:

Table of contents

(15 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xxiii
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Abstract

This volume brings together empirical and conceptual papers that investigate the challenges of organizing creativity in the innovation journey in and across different empirical contexts. Seen as the basis for innovating new products, processes or services, organizing creativity is studied as intentional efforts that occur in teams, organizations, and fields. What creativity is, how it is defined, negotiated and recognized is hereby co-constructed with different audiences and in different economic and societal spheres. The papers in this volume extend our understanding of these contextualized social dynamics of organizing creativity in four directions. The first direction sheds light on the temporal dynamics of organizing creativity in artistic fields. The second direction compares creative processes in arts and science, thereby examining tensions and uncertainties in the creative process unfolding in two distinctive contexts of creativity. The third direction examines identity struggles of creative agents in organizations with clashing roles, professional norms, and ambiguities in creativity assessment. The fourth and final direction unravels the communicative journey of ideas from pitching to feedback, revealing how ideas are challenged, enriched, and acquire meaning in communicative interaction. Overall, the papers in this volume contribute to a situated view of creative processes in innovation which goes beyond questions of idea generation to account for dynamics of idea development, judgment, and dissemination which involve identity struggles, evaluation, and communication – processes which are at the heart of organizing for innovation.

Part I: Temporal Dynamics of Organizing Creativity in ART Fields

Abstract

Conflicting theoretical perspectives present radical innovation as originating either from the core or the periphery of a system. Studies tend to bridge this divide by way of positions or roles. This paper proposes a process interface, where ideas from the core are radicalized on the periphery, inverting the established tendency of “tempering” of innovation. This approach realigns the primacy of the core in diffusing ideas and that of the periphery in reinforcing distinctiveness. Radicalization and tempering are interdependent, to the extent that the realization of one denotes other’s termination. Quantitative and qualitative evidence from the history of art lend support to the arguments, including breakthrough paintings, such as The Scream by Munch and Black Square by Malevitch. Radicalization is facilitated by simultaneously increasing differences and exchanges between core and periphery. The mobility of new ideas from the core to the periphery is likely to provoke resistance in a conservative environment. The collision of opposing social forces raises the stakes, making compromise less feasible or desirable.

Abstract

Consecration represents the most definitive form of legitimation in every cultural field. Complementing previous research focused on individual, contextual, and structural conditions underpinning consecration, this paper takes a sequence analytical perspective and explores whether diverse creative trajectories are more frequently associated with consecration. We introduce the notion of signature style and the pace of category spanning as key features for consecration. We argue that a consecrated signature style is just as likely to result from a producer’s adherence to a specific style over time or from a consistent (and fast-paced) category-spanning creative trajectory. The resulting identity will be specialist in the first case, eclectic in the second. We analyze the stylistic trajectories of 863 electronic music artists and find robust support to our hypothesis. The analysis is corroborated by further exploratory findings that identify intriguing questions for future research. By examining the organization of creative journeys in the career of cultural producers, this paper emphasizes the importance of considering the unfolding and rhythm of creativity over time. This temporal perspective sheds new light on the dynamics of distinctiveness and consecration in cultural fields.

Abstract

Arts festivals use projects to showcase creative works, configuring a creative field, whether locally, regionally or internationally, by whom engages and attends to the arts festival: artists, funders, media and audiences. This study compares the Edinburgh and Berlin arts festivals founded after World War II. Each city began with a founding festival. Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama sought to reconcile and heal international relations whereas the Berlin International Film Festival sought to showcase free expression and democracy. Both founding festivals were internationally oriented, as seen in their names. Each city added festivals over time and engaged in distinct temporal strategies and configured different creative fields. Edinburgh’s additional festivals entrained to its founding festival, synchronizing in time and place five festivals which led to greater duration and intensity of the experience and configured an international creative field: artists, media, and audiences who attended and engaged with the city festivals. In contrast, Berlin’s founding Film festival, which was internationally oriented, was followed by festivals that were treated as distinct, scheduling each festival sequentially across a yearly calendar and configuring a creative field regionally oriented around Germanic language and culture. Thus, a city’s temporal strategies for arts festivals may configure international, regional and local creative fields, changing who comprises the field to interact.

Part II: Comparing Creative Processes in Arts and Science: Tensions and Uncertainties

Abstract

While audiences play a key role in the implementation and ultimate success of novel ideas, how audiences are reflected in negotiations about quality within the creative process remains undertheorized. We examine this question through a comparative ethnography of two settings where digital technology use magnifies the countless micro-decisions involved in producing a creative output and considerations of audience evaluation throughout the creative process – Nashville music production and systems biology cancer research. We find that actors encounter a fundamental tension between two competing standards of quality: the technically perfect, processed and ideal versus the empirically grounded, unprocessed and real. We show how actors navigate this tension vis-á-vis three different audiences – internal peers, extended community, and external reviewers – and how this manifests differently across audiences and the arts and sciences, depending on the audience’s expertise. Our study illuminates the tension between the “ideal versus real” in creative processes that is brought to the fore when creating with digital technology, extends extant research on audiences and organizing for creativity, and offers unique insights from our comparative ethnography across the arts and sciences.

Abstract

This study explores the yet understudied productive aspects of uncertainty in the organization of creative collaboration and scrutinizes the practices that allow participants to fruitfully use it as a resource for the creation of novelty. In contrast to former conceptualizations of uncertainty as a quantity to be reduced through organizing, we apply a qualitative heuristic where uncertainty may shift different dimensions regarding participation (who?), procedure (how?) and content (what?). Based on eight creativity biographies in two creative fields, music production and pharmaceutical development, encompassing 36 semi-structured qualitative interviews, we identify embracing, ignoring, and fixing uncertainty as three distinct, yet interrelated practices to engage with uncertainty and thereby enable the emergence of valuable novelty in interaction. We further discover that the participants shift these practices between the different dimensions of uncertainty during the process of creative collaboration. Moreover, we argue that these shifts are necessary to maintain creativity in collaborative processes. Thereupon, we contribute insights to the so far enigmatic notion of organizing for collaborative creativity.

Abstract

Uncertainty about Intellectual Property Regulations (IPR) is prevalent in today’s knowledge-based and creative industries. While prior literature indicates that regulatory uncertainty affects creative processes, studies that systematically analyze the effects of IPR on the experiencing of involved actors in creative processes across fields are rare. We ask how core professional actor groups including creators, legal professionals and managers involved in creative processes experience regulatory uncertainty in the fields of music and pharma. By studying practices of engaging with, circumventing and avoiding regulatory uncertainty about IPR, we show how creative processes in both the music and pharma fields are entrenched with emotional-cognitive experiences such as anxiety, indifference and hope that vary by professional group. Our findings point toward managers and legal professionals observing, exposing and cultivating emotions by ascribing experiences to other actor groups. We conclude that comparing regulation-related emotions of involved actors across fields helps to develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics of creative processes.

Part III: Identity Struggles of Creative Agents in Organizations

Abstract

The experience of “misfit” between individuals’ professional identities and their work roles or work contexts is common in career transitions. In contrast to extant literature that focuses on the identity struggle of these people, this study examines how problematic identity dynamics associated with misfit motivate the shift toward the development of positive identities and induce creativity in meaning-making and change-oriented actions. It builds on the insights of Mead (1934) and Joas (1996) who view creativity as the most significant aspect of human agency, and the identity work literature that highlights the agentic process in identity construction. The study looks at a group of “pracademics” whose career trajectories deviate from the prototypical patterns in academia. It examines the identity work strategies that these people undertake to overcome misfit and shows how identity work liberates them from the limits of a particular identity, and facilitates new activities that alter aspects of their work contexts. The study advances our understanding of identity work as a creative human endeavor and sheds new light on the change-oriented agency of misfits.

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the roles of innovation experts in organizations as part of a new and evolving field of knowledge. In our examination, we integrate two fields of study: the rise of new experts in organizations and the development of role identity. Our main goal is to map the epistemological processes these new experts go through coupled with their perceived identity, roles, and duties. Based on interviews with 33 innovation experts in profit and nonprofit organizations, we analyze the role expectations, the complexities associated with this role, and the unfolding identity processes. The analysis is based on three analytical lenses for understanding the identity processes of innovation experts in organizations: “becoming,” “doing,” and “relating.” Our findings are that identity work is needed to facilitate adaptation and reduce ambiguity in the work of innovation experts.

Abstract

A creative identity, the incorporation of creativity into self-definition, is associated with creative outcomes. Given the importance of creativity to organizational success, understanding creative identity and in particular creative identity work (the formation and maintenance of creative identity) can be useful in understanding creatives within organizations. To be considered creative, individuals need to not only produce unique artefacts, but these artefacts need to be assessed by legitimate judges as being creative. Judges may be within an organization (e.g., senior researchers within a laboratory) or may be external to an organization (e.g., award judges in international advertising competitions). Underpinning creative identity work is the creative assessment, however this assessment is ambiguous and contextual. In other words, what is considered creative in one context or by one judge may not be considered creative in another context or by different judges. The ambiguity of the creative assessment makes creative identity work a precarious undertaking. Based on two case studies – a R&D laboratory and an advertising agency – this research explores the strategies which creative individuals employ in their creative identity work in response to the ambiguity of the creative assessment. This research contributes to the growing area of creative identity research by unpacking three specific strategies used as part of identity work of creatives: defending, emotional distancing and differentiating. These strategies assist the creatives in maintaining a coherent sense of who they are within the organizational context despite the unpredictability of the creative assessment.

Part IV: The Communicative Journey of Ideas

Abstract

This paper aims to identify the factors that influence the evaluation of an idea beyond its intrinsic values, especially those that relate to the presentation of the idea. With reference to a review of research conducted in the fields of psycho-sociology and psychology and using a qualitative comparative approach, the analysis of 57 pitches of entrepreneurial ideas during two start-up weekends shows that ideas receive the highest evaluation when they are judged to be the best in terms of novelty, feasibility, and relevance. However, our results also show that mastery by ideators of the basics of pitch presentation – especially clear enunciation – is also a necessary condition for acceptance of the idea by the audience. The paper seeks to contribute to the literature by identifying the most favorable configurations for a positive evaluation of an entrepreneurial idea in this type of innovation contest.

Abstract

Conceptualizing creativity as an ascription made by external audiences, this paper sheds light on the organized making of creativity, a process we label creativization. Creativitization is based on specific forms of knowledge and communication. By means of empirical illustrations from the field of fashion, we first view the utilization of knowledge in the form of materializations (in technologies), repertoires (of routines), and pooling (in projects). Second, we shed light on the significance of communication and demonstrate that communication in the form of themes, narratives, and storytelling not only serves external purposes of staging, but also fulfills internal functions of developing novelties. Third, we consider the (often lose) couplings between knowledge utilization and communication in the making of creativity. Finally, because manifest and highly institutionalized creativity expectations absorb resources and attention, we view creativization as an innovation barrier or even a substitute for innovations rather than its base.

Abstract

Research on creativity highlights feedback as an important driver of creative ideas. However, it advances a rather mechanistic understanding of communication, which obscures the specific practices in feedback interactions as well as their constitutive role in shaping creative ideas. In this paper, we advance conceptual arguments on how actors interact in communicative feedback processes on creative ideas. By drawing on the theory of communicative action by Jürgen Habermas and Hans Joas’ theory of creative action, we develop a more complex and nuanced understanding of creativity as a phenomenon that is constituted in communication. These authors’ work draws conceptual attention to the practices through which actors negotiate the novelty and usefulness of creative ideas in communicative interactions, the important role of feedback givers as creative actors, and “spaces for play” as a communicative sphere that allows creativity to emerge. We extend the literature on creativity by introducing a theory of communicative and creative action that offers to unpack communicative interactions through which creativity does or does not come into being.

Index

Pages 289-296
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Cover of Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey
DOI
10.1108/S0733-558X202175
Publication date
2021-09-17
Book series
Research in the Sociology of Organizations
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-83982-875-1
eISBN
978-1-83982-874-4
Book series ISSN
0733-558X