Calls for papers


International Journal of Product Development
International Journal of Product Development


Special Issue on: "Fostering Out-of-the-Box-Creativity in New Product Development"

Guest Editors:
Dr. Carmen Kobe, ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland
Jannis Faupel, Alstom Power Service, Switzerland
Ina Goller, PTA Praxis für teamorientierte Arbeitsgestaltung GmbH, Switzerland

The high innovative capability of companies – the capability to develop new products and successfully introduce them into the market – is generally accepted as a source of competitive advantage. Many new products are based, to a great extent, on existing skills and knowledge, knowledge about product technologies, product structures, customer requirements, development routines, and so on. Companies can profit from being aware of their so-called core competencies (Prahalad and Hamel (1990)) and applying them in the market, such as in product development. As Leonard-Barton (1992) points out, core competencies can become core rigidities if companies fail to extend their competencies. Prahalad (1998) mentions creativity and imagination as a starting point for competence progression. However, what is creativity?

Creativity is broadly understood as finding new and useful solutions to problems (see Amabile (1996); Feist (2005); Sternberg (1988)). There are different ways of looking at creativity (the different aspects of creativity have already been named by Rhodes (1961) as person, process, press, and product):

  • creativity as the ability of a person (Feist (2005) summarises the extensive research done on the correlation of creativity and other personality traits);
  • creative action, which refers to people acting in a creative way and thereby creating new knowledge (as described by Ford and Ogilvie (1996));
  • research on the creative thinking process investigates the different steps of creative action (described by Wallas (1926)), every step can be enhanced by creativity methods (e.g. Osborn (1953));
  • creative climate, because the interaction of the person and the situation results in creativity (Hunter et al. (2007)) give a literature review on creative climate); and
  • creativity as a characteristic of the created product (a piece of art or a product concept prototype, a scale for evaluating creative products has been developed e.g. by Besemer and Oquin (1986)).

In this special issue, we focus on big-step creativity in new product development. Within this context, we understand creativity to be those activities resulting in the creation of new and useful knowledge embodied in product concepts. The two criteria of “new” and “useful” can be concretised as follows:

  • New knowledge: following the knowledge spiral of Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), Chapter 3 knowledge is created by socialisation, externalisation, combination, and internalisation. This means that knowledge is created by individuals and groups, and builds on pre-existing knowledge. Although new knowledge can be generated by simply combining and applying pre-existing knowledge, the term “creativity” claims to go beyond the straightforward application of pre-existing knowledge in an out-of-the-box way of thinking.
  • Useful knowledge: Knowledge is useful in the context of product development when it can be applied to develop a new product which has good potential for market success. The knowledge is especially useful when it can be used for multiple products in multiple markets. In the case of big-step creativity, it may happen that the market potential is not realised because the product concept is rejected by the organisation long before it enters the market.

The goal of this special issue is to collect different approaches of how to foster big-step, out-of-the-box creativity in the context of new product development – the level of creativity is operationalised as the distance of pre-existing and resulting knowledge in the organisation as well as the usefulness of the knowledge for the organisation. These approaches may include choosing the right people, developing the creative abilities of people involved in product development, creating a good creative climate, giving room for creativity in the innovation and development processes, and making sure that new knowledge and resulting product concepts are not rejected by the organisation. Empirical studies, case studies, best practices, and theoretical contributions are welcome.

Amabile, T. M. (1996) Creativity in Context: Update to the "Social Psychology of Creativity", Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press Inc.
Besemer, S. & Oquin, K. (1986) Analyzing Creative Products - Refinement and Test of a Judging Instrument. Journal of Creative Behavior, 20, 115-126.
Feist, G. J. (2005) The Influence of Personality on Artistic and Scientific Creativity. In Sternberg, R. J. (Ed.) Handbook of Creativity, 5th ed. Cambridge University Press.
Ford, C. M. & ogilvie, d. (1996) The Role of Creative Action in Organizational Learning and Change. Journal of Organizational Change Management 9, 54 - 62.
Hunter, S. T., Bedell, K. E. & Mumford, M. D. (2007) Climate for Creativity: A Quantitative Review. Creativity Research Journal, 19, 69-90.
Leonard-Barton, D. (1992) Core Capabilities and Core Rigidities: a Paradox in Managing New Product Development. Strategic Management Journal, 13, 111-125.
Nonaka, I. & Takeuchi, H. (1995) The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation, London, Oxford University Press.
Osborn, A. (1953) Applied Imagination, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons.
Prahalad, C. K. (1998) Managing Discontinuities: The Emerging Challenges. Research Technology Management, 41, 14.
Prahalad, C. K. & Hamel, G. (1990) The Core Competence of the Corporation. Harvard Business Review, 68, 79-91.
Rhodes, M. (1961) An Analysis of Creativity. Phi Delta Kappan, 42, 305-310.
Sternberg, R. J. (1988) A Three-Facet Model of Creativity. In Sternberg, R. J. (Ed.) The Nature of Creativity. Cambridge, University Press.
Wallas, G. (1926) The Art of Thought, London, UK, re-issued 1931 by Jonathan Cape Ltd.

Subject Coverage
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Environments fostering creativity in product innovation
  • Creativity assessment
  • Creativity training
  • Idea management
  • Implementation of innovation and development processes
  • Creative processes in product development
  • Networked, team, and individual creativity
  • Fostering creativity in engineering, product development, and product innovation education

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors, sample copies and other relevant information for submitting papers are available on the Author Guidelines page

Important Dates

Full paper due: 1 September 2008

Notification of acceptance: 1 December 2008

Final version of paper due: 1 February 2009