Technology and Innovation Management
Module 1 Analysis Paper
Michael Blanding argues that innovation is teachable, and creativity can be nurtured, if you have the right guidance and incentives. What is the relationship between creativity and innovation? Teresa Amabile clarifies that "Creativity is the initial production and development of novel, useful ideas. Innovation is the successful implementation of creative ideas." In short, creativity plays a role at the initial stage, innovation at the final stage. She implies that creativity is the seed and innovation is the fruit. (Blanding, “Getting to Eureka!: How Companies Can Promote Creativity”).
As there will be no fruits without seeding, good seeding is important without a question. How can creativity be cultivated in an organization? Amabile says, "Creativity requires very high levels of intrinsic motivation” on the part of employees. The bottom line is that employees should want to create better things or ways on behalf of the organization out of their deep-down hearts. This is a sobering thought. Management has to set clear, wholesome goals and share them with employees. Management also needs to trust individuals, allowing them to use discretion in making decisions out of their free will as much as the organization can bear. That is the cultivating ground for creativity among employees. It sounds noble, but obviously not every organization can practice such a noble thing. Nevertheless, there are some organizations that can do so. In time they are ready to execute an action plan for innovation.
The process of innovation can be exciting! Deadlines need to be given along with profitability goals. In this action plan, Amabile says that people need to be in an extrinsically motivated state which implies physical rewards such as money or grades. On the other hand, Josh Lerner says, “prestige alone was enough to spur the innovation, offering inventors a ‘seal of approval.’” (Blanding). This gives room for management to play. In view of that, Julian Birkinshaw says, “Successful innovations need both bottom-up and top-down effort.” (Birkinshaw, “The 5 Myths of Innovation”).
Birkinshaw clearly says, “innovation is a chain of linked activities — from generating new ideas through to commercializing them successfully … innovation is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration.” According to him, the “bottleneck” in the innovation process actually occurs a lot further down the pipeline. All employees including management have to work hard through it down to end. In the meantime, financial compensation could be provided in an honorable way.
Innovative spirit has to flow from top to bottom as well as bottom to top. What about from side to side? Why not invite users to initiate innovations by themselves? According to Carliss Baldwin, open-source computer software is the best