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Dancing innovation: How can we use knowledge from contemporary dance to enable innovation in organisations?
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (Innovation management)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6920-0428
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In today´s fast changing global environment, organizations from both private and public sectors are under an increased pressure to continuously change and adapt in order to survive and provide meaningful services and products to their users. Innovation has therefore become an on-going effort that is not only a matter of R&D and product development departments, but rather a responsibility of all employees. To think how products, services, processes, methods and business models can be constantly improved or replaced by new ones is becoming a core competence needed across organization. While many organizations in Sweden have already developed a capability to innovate incrementally through continuous improvements, they often struggle to innovate radically by engaging the talent, knowledge and skills of all employees. In this thesis we thus look at how organizations could enable employees to strengthen their ability to innovate and move from incremental towards more radical innovation.

Insights from the practice of contemporary dance groups were used for inspiration, exploring how dancers work in their creative processes and what enables them to move from ideas towards developing a new performance. Since there is very limited literature about the connection between contemporary dance practice and organizational innovation, we tried to build our own framework based on empirical data. In the first study, 20 semi-structures interviews with choreographers from different countries were performed and a model with key phases, tools and enablers of innovation process from choreographic perspective developed. The model was then compared with innovation management theory and empirical data from the industry to identify similarities and differences between the innovation concepts and practice in dance and business. 

In the second study the model was tested in practice through participatory action research with 27 participants from different companies and public sector. The study explored how principles and methods from contemporary dance and choreography could be applied to enable innovation in organizational context and what are the effects and limitations of using knowledge from contemporary dance to enable innovation in organizations.

The main contribution of the research presented in this thesis is the conceptual framework about innovation process, tools and enablers from a choreographic perspective and a proposed practical method for applying it in organizational context which was developed as a part of the research. Several examples of how practitioners from business and public sector experienced dance-based methods and then translated them into their own working environment to support innovation are presented. 

Abstract [sv]

Dagens snabbföränderliga och globala miljö sätter både privata och offentliga organisationer under ökad press att ständigt förändra och anpassa sig för att kunna överleva och erbjuda meningsfulla tjänster och produkter till sina användare. Innovation är därför en pågående insats som inte bara är en fråga för FoU och produktutvecklingsavdelningar, utan är istället ett ansvar för alla anställda. Att tänka på hur produkter, tjänster, processer, metoder och affärsmodeller kan bli bättre eller ersättas med nya, blir en kärnkompetens som behövs i hela organisationen. Samtidigt som många organisationer i Sverige redan utvecklat en förmåga att förnya sig stegvis genom ständiga förbättringar, kämpar de ofta med så kallad radikal innovation där talang, kunskap och kompetens från alla anställda involveras. I den här avhandlingen utforskas hur organisationer kan göra det möjligt för anställda att stärka sin innovationsförmåga, från att vara inkrementellt till att bli mer i enlighet med radikal innovation.

Insikter från samtida dansgrupper har använts för inspiration. Vi har studerat hur dansare arbetar i kreativa processer och vad som gör det möjligt för dem att gå från idéer till att utveckla ny föreställning. Eftersom det finns mycket lite litteratur kring sambandet mellan praxis inom samtida dans och innovation i organisationer, har vi sökt att bygga en egen modell utifrån empiriska data. I den första studien genomfördes 20 stycken semi-strukturerade intervjuer med koreografer från olika länder. Utifrån detta utvecklas en modell som innehåller viktiga faser, verktyg och möjliggörare i innovationsprocessen från ett koreografiskt perspektiv. Modellen har sedan jämförts med innovationsledningsteori och empiriska data från industrin för att identifiera likheter och skillnader när det gäller innovationskoncept och praxis, mellan samtida dans och näringslivet.

I den andra studien testades modellen i praktiken genom deltagarbaserad forskning med 27 representanter från olika företag och den offentliga sektorn. Studien undersökte hur principer och metoder från samtida dans och koreografi kan tillämpas för att möjliggöra innovation i organisatoriska sammanhang och vilka effekter och begränsningar som finns när det gäller att använda kunskap från samtida dans för att möjliggöra innovation i organisationer.

Det viktigaste bidraget till forskning som presenteras i denna avhandling är den konceptuella modellen av innovationsprocessen, verktyg och möjliggörare från ett koreografiskt perspektiv samt förslag på praktisk metod för att tillämpa den i organisatoriska sammanhang som har utvecklats som en del av forskningen. Flera exempel presenteras på hur verksamma i näringslivet och offentlig sektor upplevt dansbaserade metoder och sedan översatt dem till sin egen arbetsmiljö för att stödja innovation. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eskilstuna: Mälardalen University , 2014.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 174
Keyword [en]
innovation, enabling, contemporary dance
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24532ISBN: 978-91-7485-137-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-24532DiVA: diva2:698499
Presentation
2014-04-03, A407, Eskilstuna, 10:30
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-02-24 Created: 2014-02-22 Last updated: 2014-04-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. MODEL FOR ENABLING INNOVATION COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT IN GROUPS
Open this publication in new window or tab >>MODEL FOR ENABLING INNOVATION COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT IN GROUPS
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the Participatory Innovation Conference PIN-C 2013, Lappeenranta University of Technology , 2013, 297-304 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article argues that due to the highly competitive and fast changing global environment organizations today face an innovation challenge. They need to expand their competence for radical innovation beyond their R&D departments or special units and enable employees across organization to develop competence for both incremental and radical innovation. Since most innovation challenges today are too complex to be solved by individuals, they also need to learn how to enable innovation competence development in groups. Unfortunately there is a gap in existing literature between understanding innovation competence on individual level and on the other hand innovation capability on the quite abstract overall level of the firm. Results from a study of contemporary dance groups and a study of radical innovation initiatives in Japanese manufacturing companies are used in this article to develop a framework of key enablers for developing innovation competence in groups. The six enablers identified and described in the framework are: group collaboration and co-creation; emergent bottom-up, top- down process; training and practice; personal involvement; continuous iteration between exploration and reflection; and diversity of people, spaces and tools. The article also presents how the framework is currently being tested in practice at the Mälardalen University.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lappeenranta University of Technology, 2013
Keyword
innovation competence, enabling innovation, group innovation, emergent innovation, participatory innovation, employee-driven innovation, radical innovation
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-22887 (URN)978-952-265-391-8 (ISBN)978-952-265-392-5 (ISBN)
Conference
Participatory Innovation Conference, PIN-C 2013 - Lahti, Finland, 18-20 June 2013
Projects
Innovationsgym
Available from: 2013-11-21 Created: 2013-11-19 Last updated: 2014-02-24Bibliographically approved
2. Choreographing creative processes for innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Choreographing creative processes for innovation
2015 (English)In: Artistic Interventions in Organizations: Research, Theory and Practice, Routledge, 2015Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This book chapter describes some concepts and tools from contemporary dance and choreography that provide new insights about enabling innovation in organizations. A choreographic perspective of innovation process with four iterative stages (tuning-in, exploration, reflection and sharing) is presented as an alternative view to existing models in innovation management theory. It is shown how choreographic thinking about using body, space, time and composition was applied in an innovation process designed for a group of practitioners from different companies and public organizations. Positive effects and limitations of this approach are presented and questions for future research suggested.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015
Keyword
innovation process, contemporary dance, choreography
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24531 (URN)9781138821132 (ISBN)
Available from: 2014-02-22 Created: 2014-02-22 Last updated: 2017-02-08Bibliographically approved
3. Culture for Radical Innovation: What can business learn from creative processes of contemporary dancers?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Culture for Radical Innovation: What can business learn from creative processes of contemporary dancers?
2013 (English)In: Organizational Aesthetics, ISSN 2168-8575, Vol. 2, no 1, 59-83 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Organizational culture is considered by several scholars to have a significant impact on the organization's capacity for innovation. However, there is little known about the specific aspects of organizational culture that facilitates radical innovation. This article investigates in what ways contemporary dancers ́ creative practice may contribute to our understanding as well as to the development of radical innovation in business. By interviewing twenty contemporary dancers and choreographers from different countries, we found five key elements that support their creative processes from idea to performance. These elements or categories are improvisation, reflection, personal involvement, diversity, and emergent supportive structures.

An interesting finding is the dancers ́ approach to work and their mindset, characterized by iteration between improvisation and reflection, rather than working with pre-planned goals and structures. We argue that this approach imprints their working environment and the culture for radical innovation emerges through their way of thinking, acting and relating. This study presents a systematic framework that will provide the basis for long- term strategic artistic interventions in business in order to enable cultural transformation towards radical innovation. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Art of Management and Organization, 2013
Keyword
innovation, organizational culture, contemporary dance
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24530 (URN)
Available from: 2014-02-22 Created: 2014-02-22 Last updated: 2014-02-24Bibliographically approved
4. Creating an innovative culture using the physical space as an artifact. Findings in art and manufacturing industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Creating an innovative culture using the physical space as an artifact. Findings in art and manufacturing industry
2012 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-17314 (URN)
Conference
28th European Group for Organizational Studies, (EGOS), Colloquium, Helsinki, Finland, July 5–7, 2012
Available from: 2012-12-20 Created: 2012-12-20 Last updated: 2014-02-24Bibliographically approved

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