The Development of Creative Capabilities in and out of Creative Organizations: Three Case Studies

Napier, N. and  M. Nilsson. 2006. The Development of Creative Capabilities in and out of Creative Organizations: Three Case Studies. Creativity and Innovation Management. Vol. 15, n. 3. pp. 268-278.

Yet, despite much research, three areas emerge as needing more attention:

  1. Multidisciplinary perspectives on how creativity operates within organizations
  2. Group creativity and role of the creative entrepreneur
  3. How the creative process varies across organizational types

Exploratory framework: building creative capabilities

Creative capability
The capability of creative behaviour and actions

The creative entrepreneur’s role

Creative interaction and collaborative occur to a larger extent in organizations and groups where there is a strong creative and often entrepreneurial leader who encourages such exchange.

Entrepreneurial
To identify opportunities,take risks and garner resources with an explicit focus on the creation of new (for the context) products, services, knowledge or ideas.

Other needed components:

  • Capability to link the creative process and its participants to the external environment
  • Ability to consider trends and opportunities, and identify and exploit resources that can strengthen the organization’s ability to be creative
    • slack resources have a positive effect on creativity
  • Leadership style
    • Participative managerial style may increase the creativity in an organization
    • Depends on and should be adapted to the type of team, organizational context and task at hand

They straddle the border between the internal and external worlds of their organizations, building relationships and exploiting market-based assets (externally), while setting overall vision and leading the creative collaboration processes (internally).

Recruit and nurture talent.

Organizational creative capabilities

Resource based theory holds that certain resources are critical in understanding firm behaviour and give an organization the capability to innovate and create economic value.

The evolutionary learning that creates routines and processes, which make up the organization’s capabilities, also may become a hindrance to novel thinking and changed behaviour.

Structures have an impact on creative capabilities

Creative capabilities are made up of routines and processes that enhance an organization’s ability for creative action and behaviour.

Two organizational types:

  • The mechanistic type, suited for stable environments
  • The organic type, suited for changing or dynamic environments

Routines and processes

Collaborative processes and team work are important ways for an organization to produce a specific creative outcome.

One portion of the creative entrepreneur’s role is to encourage collaboration that leads to creative actions and behaviour.

Collaboration processes take on different shapes and also vary across hierarchical, functional, organizational boundaries based on the nature of the problem or task at hand as well as based on how the context and structures affect them.

The creative entrepreneur has two critical internal tasks to enhance creative capabilities:

  • to set the structure
  • identify routines and processes for creative collaboration that can make the organization stand out among its peers.

Contextual input and market-based assets

Relational assets (e.g. reputation, trust) affect relationships that a firm has with key stakeholders in its external environment such as community groups, customers or strategic partners.

Intellectual assets allow the organization to anticipate and adopt responses to contextual changes in an industry, technology or customer group.

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