Attachment; Creativity; Idea Evaluation; Idea Selection; Self-Construal
Creativity depends on individuals’ willingness to invest in their novel ideas early in the creative process. Burgeoning research on idea evaluation suggests that while people can identify their novel ideas, they may reject them because they are risky and uncertain. Selecting novel ideas is crucial at the earliest phase of the creative process, in which individuals may evaluate several generated ideas to identify those they want to develop and share with others. To uncover when and why people select these ideas, the authors develop and test theory on the early-stage selection of novel ideas.Integrating theory from attachment, self-construal, and creativity the authors posit that creators can become attached to, and therefore select their early-stage novel ideas when the idea features affirm core aspects of their self. Individuals with an independent self-construal wish to affirm their unique identity and idiosyncratic agenda and thus are more likely to feel attached to, and select their novel ideas. In contrast, individuals with an interdependent self-construal are less likely to become attached to novel ideas, because these ideas do not validate their self.Findings from a field study on three early-stage hackathons and three experiments support the authors' theory. The authors' research points to idea attachment as a new mechanism that explains when and why creators embrace early-stage novel ideas.