UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Mel Yingying Hua , UCL School of Management, to host a research seminar discussing ‘Elaborative Play as a Process of Nascent Idea Selection and Development: An Inductive Study of Circus R&D Groups’
Previous research on how groups select ideas for further development focuses on evaluative decisions made in the later stages of the creative process. However, in the early stages, creative groups, themselves, face a challenge of needing to assess which nascent ideas to pursue despite the lack of available criteria to help them make those assessments. In a qualitative study of circus artists creating new shows, we found that nascent ideas gained or lost momentum through elaborative play – a process of evaluating and elaborating nascent ideas through behaviors and interactions. Creators use elaborative play (a) as an emergent, implicit idea evaluation and selection process and (b) to construct their conceptualization of the project as a whole. We present a model theorizing these processes, which has three noteworthy features. First, the creative vision for a project is not given or clarified at the outset but is emergent and co-evolves over time with the creative ideas that groups work on. Second, ideas do not only arise in the minds of individuals but are also constituted through group action. Third, evaluation of nascent ideas in groups is driven by behaviors and interaction (e.g., momentum) as opposed to analysis. These findings have theoretical implications for understanding group creative processes, the role of non-rational factors in evaluating ideas, and the nature of creative ideas.