• Klaasjan Visscher,

  • Petra de Weerd-Nederhof,

  • Patrick Spieth

This last issue of 2012 presents a number of very interesting articles about creativity and innovation management. The first article, by Sabrina Adamczyk, Angelika Bullinger and Kathrin Möslein, is about innovation contests. Innovation contests are growing tremendously in popularity as a means to realize innovative products and services. In this article, the authors review and classify the growing body of literature on these contests, present crucial elements for understanding, designing and managing them, and propose a research agenda. This article is based on a conference paper presented at the EURAM conference in 2011 and was selected by Anna Trifilova and John Bessant.

The second article, by Markus Grote, Cornelius Herstatt and Hans Georg Gemünden, focuses on cross-divisional innovation in large corporations. Forty-five years after Ansoff's influential work on synergies, many multidivisional corporations still struggle to create additional value. The authors examine the role of cross-divisional collaboration in the early stages of the innovation process and test a model in a quantitative study in 110 multidivisional firms. They conclude that the extent of collaboration in the early stages of innovation strongly determines the impact of cross-divisional products on corporate success, and that appropriate integration mechanisms and incentives are highly relevant.

In the third article, Anne Koch presents a typology of product development teams and communities that promote innovation. Based on the relationship of groups to institutional and procedural authority, four categories can be distinguished: autonomous teams, functional teams, communities of practice, and epistemic communities. The author provides a framework for understanding how these various groups function and manage themselves in different ways, and argues that by choosing various innovation groups for different purposes, firms can create a competitive advantage. She proposes intervention strategies and an agenda for further research.

The articles by Thomas Clauß and by Monique Goepel, Katharina Hölzle and Dodo zu Knyphausen-Aufseß form a mini-special, guest-edited by Patrick Spieth. These are based on papers that were selected from the EURAM conference in 2011. The article by Thomas Clauß focuses on the influence of the type of relationship on the generation of innovations in buyer-supplier collaborations. Based on a sample of 250 small and mid-sized enterprises from the German machinery construction sector, the author classifies buyer-supplier relationships empirically into four types, and relates these to innovation outcomes. He concludes that a relational context fosters joint innovation, and that high formalization can also lead to innovation, if it is legitimated. The article by Monique Goepel, Katharina Hölzle and Dodo zu Knyphausen-Aufseß is about innovation response behaviour. Innovation response behaviour is individuals’ novelty-supporting or novelty-impeding behaviour. Based on the theory of planned behaviour, the authors elaborate by which factors and in which ways individuals’ innovation response behaviour is influenced, and they develop a typology, distinguishing between active and passive modes of conduct. This typology forms a framework for studying the innovation process from an actor-based perspective, and links existing research on individual innovation with the process of innovation at an organizational level.

The sixth article of this issue, by Monika Schuhmacher and Sabine Kuester, is based on a conference paper presented at the International Product Development Management Conference in Delft 2011. It focuses on the identification of lead user characteristics, in particular in idea contests for service innovations. The authors examine the impact of specific lead user characteristics on the quality of service innovation ideas. Based on a study of 120 ideas resulting from an idea contest for new online services of soccer clubs, the authors demonstrate that dissatisfaction with existing services has the highest impact on idea quality. Furthermore, highly experienced users are shown to provide ideas of higher quality.

In the final paper of this issue, Julia Froehlich and Martin Hoegl study thematic ideation. This is a cognitive process in which the recognition of thematic similarity rather than categorical similarity is the source of new ideas. The authors theoretically develop and empirically test a set of antecedents and consequences of thematic thinking in a quantitative study. Their research indicates that experience and positive affect are positively related to thematic thinking and that, counter-intuitively, thematic thinking is negatively related to creativity.