Fostering the Implementation of Creative Ideas in Organizations
Edited by Miha Škerlavaj, Matej Černe, Anders Dysvik and Arne Carlsen
Chapter 14: Idea implementation as a relational phenomenon: a social network perspective
You’re not just looking at one [social network] diagram. You’re looking at who communicates with whom, who trusts whom, who goes to whom for new and innovative ideas, who gets information from whom, who goes to whom for decision making. (Kate Ehrlich, IBM) There is an increasing awareness among practitioners that social networks – a set of actors and relationships such as friendships, communication or advice that connect them (Kilduff and Tsai, 2003) – are very important for fostering creativity and driving innovation (for example, Pugh and Prusak, 2013). McGregor (2006) identifies various pharmaceutical and ICT companies that actually map informal relations to understand and sparkle innovation. For instance, IBM uses social network analysis (SNA) as a management tool to explore informal interactions between various groups of employees and promote the creation of novel and useful ideas accordingly. Examining the same company, Ehrlich (2006) indicates that companies can streamline innovation and collaboration by using SNA for exploring three major phases of innovation: generating ideas, translating ideas, and delivering ideas. The emphasis of this chapter is thus on how SNA can be used to provide valuable insight about the second part of the innovation process; that is, idea implementation.
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