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.
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.