When Collections of Creatives Become Creative Collectives: A Field Study of Problem Solving at Work
Organization Science, 2006

This paper by Professor Andrew Hargadon and Associate Professor Beth Bechky introduces a model of collective creativity that explains how the locus of creative problem solving shifts, at times, from the individual to the interactions of a collective.

The model is grounded in observations, interviews, informal conversations, and archival data gathered in intensive field studies of work in professional service firms. The evidence suggests that although some creative solutions can be seen as the products of individual insight, others should be regarded as the products of a momentary collective process. Such collective creativity reflects a qualitative shift in the nature of the creative process, as the comprehension of a problematic situation and the generation of creative solutions draw from—and reframe—the past experiences of participants in ways that lead to new and valuable insights.