Professor of Technology and Operations Management
Creative Teams; New Product Development Organizations; Creativity; Team Familiarity
Creativity is strongly influenced by the way individuals are organized. One of the most difficult and important challenges when managing innovation is to identify the individuals within an organization who must work closely with each other to maximize the generation of creative ideas.This paper aims to inform managers of new product development (NPD) organizations about forming creative teams. To do so, we extend the notion of team familiarity (i.e., the extent to which team members have worked together before becoming members of a team) by considering the quality of past interactions.The authors define creative team familiarity as the degree to which team members have triggered the generation of creative ideas in one another during task-related interactions prior to joining the team.This paper argues that a high level of creative team familiarity (rather than simply a high level of team familiarity) is positively associated with a team’s capability to produce innovative outcomes.The authors test this hypothesis in a unique empirical setting involving participants in an international executive MBA program. The authors also illustrate the implications of our findings by identifying members in a real NPD organization who would form a creative task force with maximum level of creative team familiarity.