Dancing innovation How can we use knowledge from contemporary dance to enable innovation in organisations?
Abstract: In today´s fast changing global environment, organizations from both private and public sectors are under an increased pressure to continuously change and adapt in order to survive and provide meaningful services and products to their users. Innovation has therefore become an on-going effort that is not only a matter of R&D and product development departments, but rather a responsibility of all employees. To think how products, services, processes, methods and business models can be constantly improved or replaced by new ones is becoming a core competence needed across organization. While many organizations in Sweden have already developed a capability to innovate incrementally through continuous improvements, they often struggle to innovate radically by engaging the talent, knowledge and skills of all employees. In this thesis we thus look at how organizations could enable employees to strengthen their ability to innovate and move from incremental towards more radical innovation.Insights from the practice of contemporary dance groups were used for inspiration, exploring how dancers work in their creative processes and what enables them to move from ideas towards developing a new performance. Since there is very limited literature about the connection between contemporary dance practice and organizational innovation, we tried to build our own framework based on empirical data. In the first study, 20 semi-structures interviews with choreographers from different countries were performed and a model with key phases, tools and enablers of innovation process from choreographic perspective developed. The model was then compared with innovation management theory and empirical data from the industry to identify similarities and differences between the innovation concepts and practice in dance and business. In the second study the model was tested in practice through participatory action research with 27 participants from different companies and public sector. The study explored how principles and methods from contemporary dance and choreography could be applied to enable innovation in organizational context and what are the effects and limitations of using knowledge from contemporary dance to enable innovation in organizations.The main contribution of the research presented in this thesis is the conceptual framework about innovation process, tools and enablers from a choreographic perspective and a proposed practical method for applying it in organizational context which was developed as a part of the research. Several examples of how practitioners from business and public sector experienced dance-based methods and then translated them into their own working environment to support innovation are presented.
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