Fostering the Implementation of Creative Ideas in Organizations
Edited by Miha Škerlavaj, Matej Černe, Anders Dysvik and Arne Carlsen
Chapter 1: Capitalizing on creativity: on enablers and barriers
What does it mean to capitalize on creativity in organizations? This is not a trivial question. Most research on creativity – whether at work, in the arts or in science – sees it as a combination of what is novel and useful (Amabile, 1996; Simonton, 2004; George, 2007). It is inherent in the very concept of creativity that for ideas to be creative they must be somehow taken up in the field and considered valuable by key stakeholders (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999); mere novelty is not enough. A creative idea is per definition one that is also useful, but does that mean one that has already been capitalized on? Well, not really. It is also true that most scholars or practitioners talking about creativity and innovation will associate the former closer to idea generation and the latter to implementation (Hennessey and Amabile, 2010; Anderson et al., 2014). Our way out of these seemingly inconsistent definitions is to complicate the notion of usefulness. Useful to whom and to how many? To what degree? At what point in time? Ideas are rarely born novel or useful or not – they are made novel or useful in how they are expanded upon, molded, fattened, reiterated and connected to the ideas of others, when they are worked upon (Carlsen et al., 2012).