Tools for the Process: Technology to Support Creativity and Innovation

Tools for the Process: Technology to Support Creativity and Innovation

Rachel Heinen (Creighton University, USA), Salvatore A. Leone (Creighton University, USA), Joshua Fairchild (Creighton University, USA), Lily Cushenbery (Stony Brook University, USA) and Samuel T. Hunter (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8205-4.ch016
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Abstract

Technology exerts an all-encompassing impact on the modern workplace, and has a strong influence on how designers approach creative problem solving. Such technologies can be valuable tools for organizations seeking to develop creative solutions to maintain a competitive advantage. However, with the rapid pace of technological development, it can be difficult for organizations to remain up-to-date and ahead of the competition. There is much that is still unknown about the ways in which novel technologies influence creative performance. The chapter attempts to provide insight on this topic by utilizing a process model of creative endeavors to predict how various types of technology may be used to enhance organizational creativity and innovation. Recommendations for future research and practice in the realms of technology and innovation are also discussed.
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Background

This chapter aims to explore the influences novel technologies have on the creative process. Although “creativity” or “creative behavior” represents a complex, integrated process, comprising for the sake of application, we will utilize a commonly accepted definition of ‘creativity’ as ideas that are both novel (original or unexpected) and useful (practical and serving a specific purpose) (Runco & Jaeger, 2012). ‘Creative performance’, then is the behavioral act of generating such novel and useful ideas. ‘Innovation’ is commonly accepted to be implementation of creative ideas (West & Altink, 1996). Additionally, we use the term ‘designer’ as a generic phrase to indicate a person who engages in the creative process (thus producing some form of creative design).

Finally, within this chapter, we adopt a definition of ‘technology’ from Aziz (1995), referring to any “tools or tool systems by which we transform parts of the environment, derived from human knowledge, to be used for human purposes” (Aziz, 1995, p.478). ‘Software’, then, will be defined concretely as electronic applications that users interact with through a technological system.

Bearing these definitions in mind, the present chapter provides insight into how organizations may capitalize on such developing technologies in order to enhance their creative performance and facilitate innovation. We adopt a process perspective on creativity and innovation (e.g., Mumford et al., 1991), through which we examine the impact of new and emerging technologies on creative tasks. A visual depiction of Mumford and colleagues’ (1991) model of the creative process is presented in Figure 1.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Rapid Prototyping: A family of technologies that enable the relatively fast and low-cost production of products for testing and evaluation purposes.

Creativity: Ideas that are both novel (original or unexpected) and useful (practical and serving a purpose).

Brainstorming: An idea generation process in which individuals or groups are instructed to generate ideas without criticizing or censoring themselves or one another.

Crowd Funding: A method of resource gathering where interested potential customers pledge money to innovators for a product that has not yet been created.

Technology: Tools or systems that provide support for some human activity.

Psychological Safety: A perception that team members’ contributions will be encouraged, and that disagreement or criticism will not be met with negative reactions, even if the contribution is radical or goes against the established norms of the group.

Computer-Aided Design: A family of software programs that enable the generation of two- and three-dimensional virtual models.

Innovation: The production or manufacture of creative ideas into a useful solution.

Software: Electronic technologies that enable users to interact with a technological system.

Production Blocking: Phenomenon which occurs in a group brainstorming setting where only one member is allowed to speak at a time, causing other members to forget earlier ideas shared or prevent members from sharing their current immediate thoughts.

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