4 Characteristics


Creative innovation requires a broad range of expertise. Lockheed’s “skunk works” is described as an early example of the creation of a specialist division bringing together a broad range of expertise. This approach is followed through Xerox PARC to the current interest in Google’s work organisation.


  • Understand that where the NSI literature emphasises the structural resources and constraints supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, the creativity literature focuses on the individual originator and developer of new ideas or small groups of innovators;
  • Be able to contrast Mode 1 and Mode 2 knowledge;
  • Be able to describe how creative innovation requires diverse actors to co-operate;
  • Be able to describe how a project model of multidisciplinary innovation emerged;
  • Be able to describe the Google model of allowing all employees time to innovate.
  • Be able to think critically whether this model will become universal and what organisational factors facilitate innovation.

Textbook: chapter 4


Nowotny, Scott & Gibbons,  2003, ‘Mode 2′ Revisited: The New Production of Knowledge, Minerva, Vol 41, 3, 179-194.

Nowotny, H The Potential of Transdisciplinarity, . Interdisciplines, May 2006.

Gwynne, P. (1997) Skunk works, 1990s-style, Research Technology Management; Jul/Aug 97, Vol. 40 Issue 4

Malcolm Gladwell Creation Myth, New Yorker, 2011. Article criticising PARC’s exploitation of their innovations.

Response from PARC to Gladwell article.

Google: Mobile, social, cloud changing the way we work Web article by Sebastien Marotte VP, Google Enterprise, EMEA showng how Google incorporate their work organisation model in products.

Nonaka, I. (1991). The Knowledge-Creating Company. Harvard Business Review, 69(6), 96-104.

Nonaka, I. (1994). A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation. Organization Science, 5(1), 14-37.