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Creativity in Business Incubators: A Qualitative Study of the Influencers of Startup Employee Creativity in Incubators
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Creativity is a phenomenon of human behaviour whereby new and useful things are produced. The products of creativity can be tangible, such as a painting or item of clothing, or they can be intangible, such as an idea or theory. Psychologists recognize that creativity does not exist in a vacuum; instead it is the result of the complex interaction of numerous factors. These factors are both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors relate to inherent aspects of the individual, such as cognitive capability, motivation, and emotional state. Extrinsic factors include environmental influences, such noise, distraction, and social interaction. Certain extrinsic factors also influence intrinsic factors; for example, social interaction, which is extrinsic, can improve mood, which is intrinsic.

Organisational psychologists and business researchers have in recent years explored the ways in which the creativity of an individual in a workplace setting is influenced by their environment. The authors of this study have continued that line of research, by performing a qualitative exploratory study into how the business incubator environment influences the creativity of startup employees. Business incubators, organisations that provide office space and development resources to early-stage firms, typically represent themselves as “creative environments” in which creativity can thrive. The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with employees of four different startup companies in two different incubators in Northern Sweden, in order to gauge their experiences of how the incubator environment affected their self-perceived creativity.

This study yielded interesting results that to a large degree corroborated extant research, while also raising exciting question for future research. The authors, combining the findings of their study with theories identified in a comprehensive literature review of creativity research, present a conceptual model of creativity in incubators. The model categorises the observed environmental influences of creativity into higher-order and lower-order themes, and discusses the ways in which they affect not just creativity but also each other. The higher order themes are pressure and challenge, affect, and knowledge. The lower order themes are distractions, social interaction, and positive interaction as a reward for creative behaviour. Approach to ideas operates as a mediating theme that influences the relationship between social interaction and knowledge. Business incubators may benefit from the findings and conclusions of this study, as they provide suggestions on how the incubator environment may be modified to better serve the creative needs of their tenants. The relevance of these findings is not limited, however, solely to incubators. Many organisations and institutions recognize the value of creativity, and may be interested to learn of the ways in which the environment interacts with this complex yet crucial phenomenon. Companies, innovators, entrepreneurs, and universities are but a sample of those who might gain from the new perspectives on creativity that this thesis presents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 111
Keywords [en]
Creativity, business incubator, incubator, innovation, startup, psychology, business, influencers of creativity, mäkikyrö, jonne, insoll
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-149663OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-149663DiVA, id: diva2:1223570
Subject / course
Degree Project in Economics
Educational program
International Business Program
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-26 Created: 2018-06-25 Last updated: 2018-06-26Bibliographically approved

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