Enhancing Creativity: Metacognitive Training for Innovation Practitioners

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2018Research

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Creativity training has been around for decades and numerous studies have documented how training can enhance the creative potential of individuals. However, the elements in the programmes that contribute to their effectiveness still
remain largely unknown. A consensus on how to study creativity training programmes is therefore necessary to enable a comparison of results between studies and thus advance our understanding of 'what works'. The more knowledge
compiled on which elements contribute to creativity training being effective, the easier it will be to develop better programmes tailored for a given context. The overarching theme of this PhD project is studying creativity training, and the desired end result was to develop a programme specifically developed for innovation practitioners. The aim was to first investigate how innovation practitioners utilise creativity in their everyday work, and second how they can be trained in an
optimised manner. Thirdly, the aim was to investigate what the effects are of facilitating them through a creativity training programme developed to fit their expertise and needs, with a focus on one specific element of the training. This was
investigated through six studies, each contributing to different aspects of the overarching aim.

Creativity can be understood and studied from several standpoints, e.g. individual creativity, social creativity, organisational creativity, systems theory, etc. This project takes the standpoint of individual creativity, focusing on cognitive creativity in creative persons and processes; therefore other perspectives towards creativity were not studied; although all are acknowledged as influences on the creative person and their creative performance. More specifically, those working with innovation were of interest here, often working within the early stages of the innovation process. Creativity occurs at all stages of the innovation process; however, it does manifest heavily in the early stages through creative processes
such as divergent thinking to promote for example problem discovery, and convergent thinking when narrowing into concepts to be transferred to later stages. Therefore, although creativity resides in every person, the project focuses on
innovation practitioners, whether they are designers, engineers or others working with development. To address the overall aim, the project was defined in three stages, each framed by overall research questions which were subsequently addressed through one or more research designs. The first stage of the project was an exploratory one, with the objective of understanding how innovation practitioners work while being creative in order to identify what to train. This resulted in two publications through which the concept of process awareness was developed. The second stage aimed to understand the tacit needs of different stakeholders in creativity training for practitioners, in order to design a programme that would be relevant to innovation practitioners, rigorous in its program design and realistic for organisational settings. This aimed to address the question of how to train, and resulted in three publications through which the Know-Recognize-React model, that frames the resulting programme design, was developed. The third stage had the objective of delivering the creativity training to relevant participants in order to understand how it applies in a ‘real world’ setting, as well as to measure the effect of elements of the training through an experimental design. The purpose was to address the questions How relevant is the training? and What are the effects of a single element in the training? which resulted in one final publication. The main contribution of this project is the development of a metacognitive training programme aimed at enhancing the creativity of innovation practitioners for deployment in organisations, as a culmination of the research efforts listed above. The final chapter of this dissertation will discuss the key contributions of this project and address the key challenges that remain for researchers focusing on creativity training: Which elements make one creativity training programme more effective than the other? In order to develop such knowledge, a consensus must be reached on how to design and study creativity training programmes to enable a comparison of results. Only then will it be possible to explore the question What is the sweet spot of creativity training?
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Number of pages183
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 163080323