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Creativity Management: the Value of Tacit Knowledge

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What do creativity managers do?

Replace the word management with the word optimisation.

That’s what creativity managers do: they optimise the quality of the idea pool (creativity) and the implementation process (innovation).

There are many methods of optimisation and the creativity leader must be aware of all of them, in other words, he or she must synthesise them for optimal effect.

Areas [within creativity] that need managing include motivation, organisational culture, organisational structure, incremental versus radical effects and processes, knowledge mix, group structures, goals, process and valuation.

Areas [within innovation] that need managing include idea selection, development / prototyping and the art of commercialisation.

It is worth noting that 4000 good ideas result in 4 development programs, which in turn results in 1 winner.

The value of tacit knowledge

Knowledge can be categorized as tacit and explicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is that which is easily coded: the directions to your home etc. Tacit knowledge is that which is not easily communicated, for example, the experiential knowledge of having engaged in a particular endeavor for some time.

High rates of tacit knowledge will lead to higher creativity scores (the number of ideas produced, their diversity, their novelty and the frequency of their production).

The above is one reason why diverse and novel group combinations are more effective (they are more easily able to frame break, be less path dependent and make linkages between different domains). In effect, they intellectually cross-pollinate easily. A group of only white, middle class, angle-saxon males (the make-up of many boardrooms) will reduce overall scores.

However, this statement is made with some serious caveats: tacit knowledge does not rate over and above many other criteria for successful creativity management, for example, organizational culture, organizational structure and so forth. To optimize the quality of the idea pool and the implementation process, all the other elements of the framework must be managed effectively.

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Kal Bishop, MBA


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  • Posted On December 18, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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