Mechanisms for making innovation happen in organizations

Approximate reading time: 4-6 min. Understanding what drives successful innovation is of paramount importance. One study examined mechanisms for making innovation happen in organizations. The hypothesis, from the researchers, was that innovation is a function of individual efforts and organizational systems to facilitate creativity.


Mechanisms for making innovation happen in organizations

The model in the study formulates creativity as a property of thought process that can be acquired and improved through instruction and practice. In this context, individual creativity mechanisms refer to activities undertaken by individual employees. These employees work within an organization to enhance their capability for developing something meaningful and novel within their work environment. Organizational creativity mechanisms refer to the extent to which the organization has instituted formal approaches and tools, and provided resources to encourage meaningfully novel behaviors within the organization. Using data collected from 634 organizations, the researchers found support for this hypothesis.


Creativity is not enough

The results suggest that the presence of both individual and organizational creativity mechanisms led to the highest level of innovation performance. The study suggests that it is not enough for organizations to hire creative people and expect the innovation performance of the firm to be superior. Similarly, it is not enough for firms to emphasize management practices to enhance creativity and ignore individual mechanisms. Although it is true that doing either will improve innovation performance, doing both should lead to higher innovation levels.


Mechanisms for making innovation happen in organizations

The researchers suggest the need to recruit individuals who make regular efforts to improve the creative abilities of employees through training and on the job. The results also call for managers to formalize creativity approaches and techniques in organizations to improve innovation output.



Bharadwaj, S., Menon, A., 2000. Making innovation happen in organizations: individual creativity mechanisms, organizational creativity mechanisms or both? Journal of Product Innovation Management 17 (6), 424–434.

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