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BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena

Idea Work. Zones of criticality and collective practice in creating extraordinary value.

Tildelt: kr 13,5 mill.

The project aims to understand and enable the creative practices of "idea work", a form of work that is increasingly key to competitive advantage throughout all sectors of the economy. Idea work involves activities of conceiving, reinforcing, combining, r ejecting, testing, and recombining ideas for use in products and services. It is dominated by demands for novelty and symbolic analytical problem solving. Examples of idea work within this project include architectural work (Snøhetta), legal services (Tho mmessen), oil exploration activities (StatoilHydro), microcontroller design (Atmel) and advanced engineering services. We make two important distinctions to link idea work to value creation. First, we differentiate between idea work that takes place in core value creating activities and idea work that does not. Second, within value creating activities we identify and analyze zones of criticality in idea work. By zones of criticality (e.g. integrative interpretation within hydrocarbon prospect developmen t) we mean areas of work considered both decisive for value creation and unusually difficult in some sense, e.g. demanding exceptional abilities for being creative or for complex coordination. Handling such difficulties well is particularly critical in wi nner-takes-all settings. Our research is informed by creativity research, practice theory and research dealing with sources of energy, meaning and positive identity construction in work. We combine approaches from action research and positive organizatio nal scholarship. The main ambition of the project is to establish a leading international competence base on idea work in organizations, in Norway. Such an ambition will be realized 1) through international recognition associated with high quality publi cations, conference track facilitation and research projects, and 2) through development of a framework for enabling idea work practices being used by internationally oriented leading Norwegian firms.

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BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena