Dr Amy Climer

Episode 102: Emergent Innovation with Johnathan Cromwell

Deliberate creativity encourages gaining clarity about the problem at the beginning of the innovation process. However, that’s not how we always work. It’s common to create something new while maintaining ambiguity around the purpose of the solution. Dr. Johnathan Cromwell found this in his research while studying a start-up company that was creating a social robot. After observing hundreds of hours of team meetings he noticed a process he calls emergent innovation. In this episode, he explains his research and helps us understand how emergent innovation works.

What You’ll Learn

  • The difference between emergent innovation and deliberate innovation
  • Elements of emergent innovation
  • How to get comfortable with ambiguity

About Dr. Johnathan Cromwell

Johnathan Cromwell is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Strategy at the University of San Francisco. His research focuses on creativity and innovation in organizations, particularly how people collaborate with each other as they tackle vague, open-ended, and ambiguous problems. Through this research, he aims to develop a new theoretical framework called “dynamic problem solving” that explains why, when, and how people change the way they approach problems as they deal with various constraints during the innovation process. This work has been recognized by the Academy of Management with the 2018 OB Division Best Paper Award. He earned an S.B. in Chemical-Biological Engineering from MIT and a Doctorate in Management from Harvard Business School.

Weekly Challenge

John challenges us to try improv cooking as a way to explore emergent innovation. Use the ingredients in your kitchen and come up with a dish. Use those ingredients to shape your dish and see what emerges.



Rave Reviews

  • Amy Inspires Creativity Growth in Everyone
    January 5, 2022 by cjpowers7 from United States

    Amy Climer’s show helps all of us grow our creative muscles. She is authentic and cares about her listeners. Amy empowers us with tools that work in the office, training sessions, and our communities. The best part is her ability to make what feels out of reach, something that can be accomplished with simple steps forward.

  • A great way to get inspired!!
    March 8, 2021 by binglish from United States

    Love listening to Amy’s podcast! Her guests are awesome and conversations are full of inspiring information.

  • A must for people who want to think better
    May 26, 2019 by Dhensch from United States

    Amy Climer hit a home run with this podcast and continues to get hits with every episode. I was hooked with the first one and binge-listened to the four solo episodes about the Creative Problem Solving process. Her knowledge of the subject of creativity and innovation is incredibly deep. And, she makes it easy for others to learn and apply. I have listened to other "expert" podcasts and Amy's is different in that she holds nothing back. Episode after episode offer practical insights, tips and tools. She has a generosity of spirit that is contagious.

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