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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: August 2015

Preface

Summary

“Innovate or die” is the catchphrase for commercial organizations today, but the necessary discussion about innovation is hampered by the absence of a comprehensive set of concepts for conceptualizing the issues and terms for a systematic discussion of it. This book offers a reorientation: on the one hand, a switch of attention away from properties and processes in organizations to a focus on human actors; on the other hand, a turn to psychological research on creativity to work out the necessary conceptual framework. The use of creativity research to cast light on organizational issues leads to some looseness in distinguishing between creativity and innovation, but tolerance of fuzzy boundaries is a core aspect of both domains.

The book deconstructs the traditional four Ps approach to creativity by dividing the P of person into three domains: personal motivation, personal feelings/attitudes, personal attributes. Each domain is characterized by various behavioral dispositions, such as a disposition to react to a problem by generating novelty versus a disposition to fix what already exists. These behavioral dispositions are seen in this book not as static properties that people either possess or do not, but as styles or even habits that provide favorable (or unfavorable) personal prerequisites for innovation and can be learned or developed with the help of, among other things, appropriate leadership from managers. Thus, this book provides highly differentiated insights into best leadership practice in guiding and developing the disposition to innovate in individual members of an organization. In addition, the traditional P of product is made more specific to innovation by applying the usefulness imperative: In the case of innovation, products must display commercial salience. The result is, in effect, a Six Ps model of innovation, although the six elements are referred to in this book as the building blocks of innovation.

The analysis deals with the paradoxes of innovation (such as simultaneous calls for innovation and rejection of innovation) in the society as a whole, in the organizational environment, and within individual people, as well as conflicting conclusions about what kinds of action promote innovation. This is done by dividing the process of generation and implementation of novelty into phases and working out the relationship between the building blocks and the phases.