Idea Generation, Creativity and Prototypicality

44 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2016

See all articles by Olivier Toubia

Olivier Toubia

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Oded Netzer

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Date Written: November 6, 2016

Abstract

We explore the use of Big Data tools to shed new light on the idea generation process, automatically “read” ideas in order to identify promising ones, and help people be more creative. The literature suggests that creativity results from the optimal balance between novelty and familiarity, which should be measured based on the combinations of words in an idea. We build semantic networks where nodes represent word stems relevant to a particular idea generation topic, and edge weights capture the novelty vs. familiarity of word stem combinations (i.e., the weight of an edge that connects two word stems measures their scaled co-occurrence). Each idea contains a set of word stems, which form a semantic subnetwork. The edge weight distribution in that subnetwork reflects how the idea balances novelty with familiarity. Based on the “beauty in averageness” effect, we hypothesize that ideas with semantic subnetworks that have a more prototypical edge weight distribution are judged as more creative. We show this effect in eight studies involving over 4,000 ideas across multiple domains. Practically, we demonstrate how our research can be used to automatically identify promising ideas, and recommend words to users on the fly to help them improve their ideas.

Keywords: Ideation, Text Mining, New Products, Idea Generation

Suggested Citation

Toubia, Olivier and Netzer, Oded, Idea Generation, Creativity and Prototypicality (November 6, 2016). Marketing Science, Forthcoming; Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-80. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2865167

Olivier Toubia

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

Oded Netzer (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

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