Creativity and innovation in organizations case studies

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Keywords: spin-offs; reciprocity; friendship; group-cohesiveness; creativity; innovation. To be successful new entrepreneurs must be innovators—creative, idealist, and visionary. Interestingly, a lot of literature has emerged about families and innovation within businesses, and scholars in this literature showed that family dynamics do impact on innovative processes and outcomes e.

Creativity at Work delivers results: Case Studies

Whereas relatives are designated by blood or legal ties, friends are selected, so friendship is a unique form of voluntary intimate relationship. Furthermore, friendship is a relatively uninstitutionalized relationship without standard rituals, norms or nomenclature to guide the partners. Yet, friendship choices are not wholly fortuitous, nor is amicable behaviour unscripted Allan, Some friendships are based on routine, repeated, and predictable interactions, while others are formed after chance meetings.

Sociological research about groups of artists shows how friendship fosters creativity in these collaborative circles. Farrell notes that the figure of the lone genius is not always accurate in this context and that extraordinary creativity is often the result of successful collaboration among peers who develop an intense friendship and work together for an extended period. Farrell argues that such work is spurred by a set of enabling social dynamics that work to support, encourage, and stimulate creativity among members of the group Farrell, ; Corte, Despite the widespread occurrence in new ventures of friends doing business together , research in management devotes virtually no attention to friendship and to how it might be related to business creative outcomes.

Research in laboratory and organizational settings has focused on how creativity and innovation can be fostered in work-groups or work-teams focusing on methods like idea generation, brainstorming e. However, this stream has focused on creative processes and outcomes generated by teams and groups of workers, not company owners. However, these studies do not devote attention to the quality of the relationships among the founding team members. Also, psychologists and sociologists have focused on the relation between the group of friends and the individual in various contexts, like artists and classrooms e.

Creativity And Innovation: Your Keys To A Successful Organisation

In this article, we chose to focus on analyzing how friendship impacted on the inception and development of one Italian start-up. After observing them for eight years, we realized that friendship has a meaningful impact on creativity and innovation processes. Not only friends generated the idea of a venture and implemented it by founding one, but also friendship is strictly related to internal organizational dynamics and has a major influence on decision-making processes that impact on how creative ideas may become implemented innovations e.

Our aim here is twofold.

  • Guiding as you take your ideas and create groundbreaking products or services;
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  • Exploratory Study of Organizational Creativity in Creative Organizations.

First, we want to shed light on the underexplored issue of friends doing business together. Given that virtually no literature has specifically considered this aspect in the business context, we aim to bring together theoretical perspectives belonging to several research streams and provide the basis for future investigation about friends doing business together.

Second, we explore how friendship can sustain organizational creativity and innovation, focusing in particular on decision-making processes. In the following sections, we consider the definition of creativity and innovation and review several streams of literature about friendship. Then, we describe the main findings and propositions.

Finally, we present conclusions an d directions for further research.

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When creativity spurs innovation: Is friendship a missing link? In this paragraph, we first articulate the definitions of creativity and innovation based on the managerial literature. Then, we review what psychological studies report about friendship and we integrate the sociological viewpoint. Also, we propose a model that may serve as a basis for future investigation of friends in business. Theoretical work in the management field has focused on how to define the phases of innovation processes.

The appropriateness and novelty of an idea, process, or solution depend on the context: in order to be considered creative and innovative, these outputs must be unique in some way. Innovation, then, is both a process and an outcome. The characteristics of creativity and innovation differ in the required degree of novelty and social interaction, as creativity results in something novel, while innovation can be based on ideas that are adopted from previous experience or other organisations.

In this paper, we take a process perspective. We define creativity as the first step before innovation —the generation of good, valuable ideas that could or could not be actualized as innovations e. These definitions are logical. The generation of creative ideas requires favourable conditions to become actual innovation. Indeed, Sarooghi et al.

In other words, it appears that high-tech start-ups are disadvantaged in terms of transforming creative ideas into innovation. Indeed, it is also interesting to note that, even if the management literature suggests that there are cognitive, social and environmental resources that may enhance group creativity, the empirical evidence is equivocal on how a group may affect creativity. Thus, we speculate that friendship is an underexplored element that might impact on business processes and outcomes, such as innovation and creativity.

Interest in friendship relations significantly predates the earliest psychological investigation of the topic as philosophers have elucidated conceptual and theoretical considerations of friendship for well over twenty centuries. Greek and Roman philosophers in antiquity considered friendship to be a requisite aspect of moral and political philosophy and developed theories of friendship to support their positions Aristotele cited by Ross, The empirical investigation of friendship is quite recent and range from definitions of friendship and its components Sullivan, to investigations of the importance of peer and friendship relations for child development e.

He deemed friendship a collaborative relationship, and that friends are sensitive to the needs of one another and seek mutual satisfaction. Friendship is a voluntary interdependence between two individuals that includes the experience and satisfaction of various provisions intimacy, support and self-validation to varying degrees Hays, ; Demir et al.

Friendship literature also highlights the fact that friendship dynamics evolve over time. Any movement from one friendship phase to another might be deliberate or might occur by chance. This literature is largely focused on the individual and the evolution of the human being and virtually no attention has been devoted to how friendship might impact on business dynamics.

We propose here one model of investigation based on the notion of exchanges that can be a useful base for future research aiming to explore friendship and business together. Both friendship and business relationships are two different forms of social relationships.


Social relationships are characterized by exchanges and these exchanges can be governed by different logics. Social psychologists refer to exchange of resources as the social events which are most relevant to relationship formation and maintenance. Resources can be anything from attention and approval to food, clothing, and money Foa, Today, organizations survive because their exchanges are governed by the principle of reciprocity. The fact that the balance sheet may includes debts or credits , materially shows the existence of this principle because they owe something to someone or vice versa.

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If organizations do not respect the norms of reciprocity they simply fail i. This idea is highly in line with those traditional theories that see organizations as a nexus of contracts e. Therefore, all business relationships both for-profit and non-for-profit are by definition exchange oriented ones, where exchange may be in various form material goods such as money; behaviours such as work; or intangible values, such as social recognition, legitimacy, support etc.

In other words, business relationships are exchange-oriented relationships and as such, are characterized by norms of reciprocity. Ideally, friendship relationships are non-exchange oriented ones i. This means that friendship relationship should not be governed by the principle of reciprocity. In general, reciprocity is one of the expectations about affective relations e. What is different is that generally these affective elements are highly subjective and therefore they are hard if not impossible to measure, therefore these relationships are to some extent characterized by inequality of what is exchanged e.

Figure 1 is a representation of the above-mentioned concept. When relationships involve exchanges, the principle of reciprocity may operate according to different intensities, which is why we represented it here on a continuum. Generally, in an exchange oriented relationship — which typically characterizes how companies operate — business norms presume full equality of exchange.

This simplified model may explain the friction generated by integrating friendship with business norms. Given that exploring these kinds of dynamics and interactions requires more than an exploratory research work, we hope this may provide a basis for further inquiry in this context. A cohesive group is one that sticks together, whose members are bonded to one another, and to the group. Cohesiveness is often accompanied by feelings of solidarity, harmony, and commitment Mudrack a. In sum, even though there is some empirical evidence in favour of the positive effect of group cohesiveness on group creative performance, there are also theoretical arguments in favour of a negative or neutral effect, thus there is no clear answer regarding this dynamic.

Following the same line of thinking, the concept of group cohesiveness is also similar to the definition of strong ties in sociological literature. Strong ties among network contacts occur among those with close personal relationships who interact frequently Granovetter, , like friends, whereas weak ties occur among those who are emotionally more distant from one another. Most empirical studies about the effect of social processes on creativity have been conducted in the sociology field, in which creativity is not clearly distinguished from innovation.

We propose that a process perspective that considers the distinction between creativity i. In this literature, we can find two opposing perspectives about the influence of social structures on creativity.

Research at a dyadic level also shows that strong ties are effective catalysts for creative ideas when such ties link actors who are intrinsically motivated to work closely together Sosa, Since creativity requires a variety of information sources, a large number of sporadic and distant relationships i. According to this perspective, people whose networks span structural holes Burt, such that they are connected to sources of information that are not connected to each other have early access to diverse, often contradictory information and interpretations, which gives them a competitive advantage in seeing good ideas.

In this sense, bridging ties provide access to alternative points of view and to a broader scope than do collocated, or strongly tied, connections. In other words, weak ties help increase creativity and diffuse good ideas once they have been developed. For instance, collaborative brokerage i. In sum, there are reasons to believe that group cohesiveness favours creativity, but it might not directly affect innovation, when innovation is consecutive to creativity.

Thus, adopting a process perspective which sees innovation as an outcome of creativity, we suggest that group cohesiveness i. Hence, our premise is that group cohesiveness has only an indirect effect on innovation because innovation is successive to creativity. A qualitative case study method is adopted in this research.

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Creativity and innovation in organizations case studies

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