Innovation teams and organizational creativity: Reasoning with computational simulations
A computational social simulation encourages systematic reasoning about the management of innovation teams and organizational creativity. This article draws upon historical literature to identify a potential dilemma faced by business organizations: Is it better to promote creative behavior across a whole organization or focus on the development of small and highly creative teams? We formulate the dilemma from the literature on organizational creativity, and explore it using a multi-agent simulation. Our study models creative behavior abstractly, as the ability to introduce novelty. By varying the scale and scope of non-conformist behavior in the simulation, our research supports the systematic study of the breadth vs. depth dilemma. The results of this study invite an informed examination of strategies to sustain innovation based on the introduction of either a small number of significantly novel ideas, or a large number of novel but more familiar ideas. Results from this study on change agency also indicate that there is a possible trade-off between a highly creative team and its creative efficiency, drawing attention to the importance of a creative critical mass in an organization. We also discuss the implications of these results and our research approach.