Companies and projects often face the challenge of creating something new to increase their competitiveness. In this process of creating something new creativity is an important factor. By using a creative approach and utilizing creative processes new innovations emerges. An industry that has grown in recent years is the computer games industry. Competition is fierce and for the companies to succeed, the product need that extra something to make it stand out among all the produced games.
The project manager's role in the creative process and the ability to be creative within a distance based company is not something highlighted by previous research. This formed the basis of our research question:
How do project managers act to create conditions for creativity among employees in a remotely organized computer game company?
To answer our question, we chose to make a descriptive case study. The project is based in the Nordic countries with employees worldwide. It is altogether a distance based project with no shared workspace. We interviewed the projects two project managers, and supplemented with a qualitative survey amongst the employees. The collected material was analyzed with a methodology inspired by Grounded Theory and previous research results.
Three approaches of how the project managers act to promote creativity are evident in their stories. These approaches are trust, availability and tolerance. They form the basis of our model on how the project managers in this case act to promote employee creativity. Besides the three approaches, two concepts emerged as important tools for creativity in the project: motivation and communication. Our conclusion can be described as follows:
Motivation provides the conditions for creative thinking. By building an organization where project leaders show trust in the ability of employees, and allows tolerance to be a watchword for collaboration, project managers work to improve employee motivation. This will create opportunities for creativity among the employees in this distance based project. Communication is essential for creative work in the project and virtual means of communication a way to increase availability.