Handbook of Management and Creativity
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Handbook of Management and Creativity

Edited by Chris Bilton and Stephen Cummings

This Handbook draws on current research and case studies to consider how managers can become more creative across four aspects of their business: innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and organisation – and does so in an accessible, engaging and user-friendly format.
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Chapter 16: Balancing divergence and convergence: stimulating creativity through hybrid thinking

David Oliver, Loizos Heracleous and Claus D. Jacobs


Creating a climate that fosters organisational creativity is a critical challenge for many managers today. We know for example that strategic uniformity across organisations leads to reduced returns, whereas difference leads to higher performance (Nattermann 2000). Creative thinking is an important component of developing such uniqueness in an organisation, both in terms of its strategic positioning as well broader internal understandings (Jacobs and Heracleous 2005, 2006). Incentive structures that favour short-term results, combined with limited budgets and the notorious difficulties associated with quantifying creativity payoffs (Amabile and Khaire 2008), pose significant challenges to managing for creativity. At the same time, the long-term survival of most organisations in dynamic business environments will ultimately depend on their ability to nurture and mobilise creativity, that is, to generate outputs and outcomes that are both novel and valuable (Ford 1996). While standardised strategy tools and techniques can provide useful inputs for strategic analysis, the ability to move beyond ëdryí analytics and make a creative leap is often essential to developing strategies with sufficient distinctiveness and uniqueness to confer competitive advantage. The creative process itself can energise managers and motivate them to exert discretionary effort. Managers often face a variety of challenges when attempting to stimulate creative thinking and implement innovative strategies in their organisations.

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