A framework for enterprise creativity and innovation
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- With the shift from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge economy over the last decades, innovation has become increasingly central to business success. Innovation is necessary to create new products, new ways of working, new targeted strategies and/or entirely new lines of business. There is no simple route to becoming innovative, however, because innovation is not like most other business activities in that there appear to be no known dependable templates, rules, processes or even measures of success. In a sense, each act of innovation is a unique feat that can neither be reliably predicted nor guaranteed as repeatable. In spite of this, certain organisations are somehow able to devise - and realise - great ideas over and over again. This raises the question as to whether there is a common thread, an unspoken schema or set of rules-of-thumb that can make enterprise innovation more likely. This is the question addressed by this research. Using a qualitative Grounded Theory methodology to acquire and synthesise information from 73 senior managers of 62 successful technology-reliant businesses, I explore the perspectives, roles, practices and associated factors involved in shaping an organisation's potential for creativity and innovation. The research results show that innovation involves a two-phase cycle. First, human creativity is responsible for originating ideas; and, second, sponsored ideas are adopted by the organisation for action and realisation. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate that this fulfilment cycle is both complex and extremely fragile. Each phase requires a number of co-requisites. For human creativity, the most important aspects are a capacity for divergent thought in order to generate ideas; knowledge to enrich such thought; vision to provide direction/purpose; and motivation to drive and energise the achievement of a creative outcome. The second phase of idea adoption entails a corporate vision to provide an overarching purpose; strategic intent to supply staff with the motivational impetus to contribute to that vision; resources to provision the innovation undertaking; and appropriate practices to enable idea realisation. In addition to this, an organisational setting that encourages ideas, and facilitative leadership that is committed to their realisation, is essential. The cycle can be easily destabilised, with innovative capacity subverted, if one or more of the constituent facets operate(s) out of tune with the rest or when negative external influences intrude upon the process. The major contribution of this research is the development of a theory that can assist enterprise leaders to better understand, and more deftly manage, those practices that help transform human creativity into new products, services and ways of doing business.
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