Edited by Chris Bilton and Stephen Cummings
Chapter 2: Improvisational practice and innovation: shock, horror and confounding expectations in film-making
Innovation and creativity are frequently associated with each other and Henry and Walker (1991) provide a useful definitional starting point. Creativity, for Henry and Walker, is having new ideas, whereas innovation is the challenge of making new ideas have a practical result. Innovation, therefore, incorporates individual flashes of inspiration typically accompanied by teamwork to co-produce new outcomes. It entails adaptability and not merely replicating good practice from the past, and relies upon systematic persistence through which surprises, problems and alternatives are regarded not as barriers to action, but as invitations to act (Beech et al. 2004). Bilton and Cummings (2010) propose an understanding of innovation that incorporates both systems (such as innovations throughout the value chain) and practices. The latter is the inspiration for this chapter, in which we use activity theory to analyse innovative practice in film-making. Bilton and Cummings (2010) argue that copying ëbestí practice does not necessarily lead to innovation and they propose an approach to innovation based on learning and engagement with different forms of practice. Innovation is regarded as incorporating both creation and discovery, which operate in a ëbisociative loopí in which there is a building on, or absorbing of, extant ideas and a divergence and initiating of the new. They use the example of the film The Blair Witch Project, which was new and unexpected in its own terms but also referenced ëclassic moviesí.
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