The creativity dilemma

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Elena Revilla


Creativity—the production of ideas that are simultaneously novel and useful (Amabile, 1983, 1996)— is intimately linked to innovation, which entails the conversion of ideas into new products, services, or ways of doing things (e.g., Kanter, 1988; West, 2002). Most studies on innovation differentiate at least two activities in the innovation process: idea generation and idea implementation (e.g., Amabile, 1988; Bledow, Frese, Anderson, Erez, & Farr, 2009; Sarooghi, Libaers, & Burkemper, 2015). Previous research has consistently documented that the production of ideas is a positive predictor of idea implementation (Axtell, et al., 2000, 2006). However, the correlation between creativity and innovation needs clarification (Baer, 2012) because it is characterized by tensions (Lewis, Welsh, Dehler, & Green, 2002), paradoxes (Miron, Erez, & Naveh, 2004), contradictions (King, Anderson, & West, 1991), and dilemmas (Benner & Tushman, 2003). To interpret tensions and outcomes when studying innovation processes, March’s (1991) framework of exploration and exploitation has become an essential lens. Idea generation is exploratory in nature, but idea implementation is exploitative. Exploration engages firms in divergent thinking through search, discovery, experimentation, risk taking, flexibility, and variation. Exploitation emphasizes convergent thinking including selection, refinement, execution, and variance reduction.


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REVILLA, E. The creativity dilemma. RAE - Revista de Administracao de Empresas , [S. l.], v. 59, n. 2, p. 149–153, 2019. DOI: 10.1590/S0034-759020190207. Disponível em: Acesso em: 22 apr. 2024.


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