Managing Creativity in Small Worlds

Posted: 11 Nov 2009

See all articles by Lee Fleming

Lee Fleming

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Matt Marx

Boston University Questrom School of Business

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

Greater job mobility among engineers and scientists has caused the extended social networks of inventors to become increasingly connected. As a result, invention increasingly occurs within small worlds (or social networks) that straddle firm boundaries. Small worlds provide both strategic opportunity and potential threat; while they can increase creativity within a firm, they also aid in the diffusion of creative knowledge to other firms through personnel and knowledge transfer. Firms that operate within small worlds such as in Silicon Valley long agolearned to manage invention in an environment of rampant knowledge spillovers across firm boundaries. Now, however, all firms need to learn how to manage innovation in a small world environment. This article offers them advice about how to do this. (Publisher’s Abstract)

Keywords: Gatekeepers, Boundary spanning, Knowledge spillovers, Clusters, Creativity, Managers, Intermediaries, Social networks, High technology industries, Engineers, Scientists, Inventors, Inventions, Silicon Valley

Suggested Citation

Fleming, Lee and Marx, Matt, Managing Creativity in Small Worlds (2006). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1503870

Lee Fleming (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617 495 6613 (Phone)
617 496 5265 (Fax)

Matt Marx

Boston University Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02466
United States

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