Academic journal article The International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving

Tensions in Creative Products: Using the Value Square to Model Functional Creativity

Academic journal article The International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving

Tensions in Creative Products: Using the Value Square to Model Functional Creativity

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Surveys of renowned consultancies such as Arthur D. Little, the Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Strategy& (formerly Booz & Co.) continuously and consistently propose that there is a positive relationship between a company's innovations and its performance. Innovative companies typically generate more sales from new products than weak innovators and have a higher chance of producing successful breakthrough innovations, but do not necessarily spend more on research and development (R&D) activities. Innovative products are said to lead to higher revenue growth rates, higher EBIT and higher customer satisfaction (see for example Arthur D. Little 2010, Chan, Musso & Shankar 2008, Jaruzelski, Staack & Goehle 2014, Jaruzelski, Staack, & Schwartz 2015, PwC 2013a, PwC 2013b, Ringel, Taylor & Zablit 2015, Wagner et al. 2014). This is also reflected in the measures companies use to assess their innovation activities. According to a McKinsey survey (Chan, Musso & Shankar 2008, p. 5), the main measures are revenue growth, customer satisfaction and percentage of sales from new products.

Innovation is typically defined as involving an invention or creative product and its commercialization (Deckert 2012, p. 6). Thus, product innovations are based on creative products. The standard definition of creativity contains a tension between originality and effectiveness (Runco & Jaeger 2012, p. 92). This phenomenon can also be termed the originality-effectiveness duality of creativity (Deckert 2016a, p. 2, Deckert 2016c). Product creativity is usually defined in a sociocultural way and deals with "products judged to be novel and appropriate by the relevant social group" (Sawyer 2012, p. 11). Other, stricter definitions include aspects such as heuristic task, unusualness or unexpectedness, and sometimes even inconceivability, of the solution. This means that creative products often lead to surprise or even fascination, and open up new perspectives and possibilities (Amabile 1996, p. 35, Boden 1992, p. 30). Runco (2014, p. 401) gives an overview of seven definitions of creativity by creativity scholars which all include a product. Most of these definitions include the tension between originality and effectiveness as proposed by the standard definition.

For creative products in a company context Cropley and Cropley (2010, p. 301) propose the term "functional creativity": Functional creativity is a quality leading to "novel products that serve some useful social purpose" (Cropley, Kaufman & Cropley 2011, p. 16). These products are typically "engineered artifacts or manufactured consumer goods". Thus, the focus of functional creativity is more on the side of effectiveness: Creative products have to fulfil a specific customer need to be successful. Nonetheless, functional creativity contains the same general paradoxical relationship between originality and effectiveness as individual creativity (Deckert 2015, p. 2) and corporate creativity (Deckert 2016a, p. 2).

The goal of the paper is to show how the tension of the standard definition permeates the characteristics of creative products. The focus of this paper is on functional creativity and, thus, manufactured products. To achieve this goal, firstly, the basic tensions of creative products are worked out by defining creative products and by describing product characteristics as defined by creative product scales and the perceived product attributes affecting the rate of adoption as proposed by diffusion theory. After that, the method of the value square is described as a means for modeling the tensions underlying functional creativity. In the following section, the value square is used to model and analyze the basic tensions of creative products as determined by creative product scales and diffusion theory. Finally, in the conclusion, the key findings are summarized and research limitations are discussed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.