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New People Can Spark Creativity by Shaking Things Up

Academy of Management Insights: “Nurturing employees’ creativity can be vital to organizations’ success. Yet structures built to keep ideas flowing can actually constrict innovation over time, reducing creative juices to a trickle, according to an Academy of Management Journal article. Shaking things up—bringing in new people with fresh ideas on a continual basis—can change team dynamics, sparking creative approaches and innovation. “New ties bring a positive ‘shock’ that pushes individuals in the network to change the way they organize and process knowledge, as well as the way they interact and collaborate,” wrote the authors of “Networks, Creativity, and Time: Staying Creative through Brokerage and Network Creation.” Their theory is that instability heightens creativity opportunities for those who have an open network, while employees working in open (but stable) structures eventually get caught in ruts. New people, who do not know how things have been done in the past, can look at projects with fresh eyes, which allows teams to take different approaches to solving problems and developing new products and processes. “If you have an open network, but it’s always the same people, it doesn’t work creatively. You need to change the composition and the stability of the network to remain creative. New people in the network spur creativity,” said Giuseppe Beppe Soda of Bocconi University in Milan. Soda coauthored the article with Pier Vittorio Mannucci of London Business School and Ronald S. Burt of University of Chicago and Bocconi University…”

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