UCL School of Management

Research project

The creative process in groups and teams


Groups are often the creative engines that drive organizational innovation and performance. Understanding how groups produce creative outputs is therefore critical. Research to date has examined the inputs and environments that improve group creativity, but has paid relatively less attention to the way that groups use those resources to develop new ideas and products. This stream of research explores those processes. The results challenge the view that the creative process in groups mirrors the creative process at the individual level. The research includes both experimental and qualitative studies.


Creativity is critical to organizational performance and survival across a range of industries, with firms from investment banks to industrial goods providers to healthcare policy organizations claiming that creativity is fundamental to their work. In those organizations, groups are frequently viewed as a panacea for creativity. In particular, brainstorming is used by organizations to facilitate creativity, despite years of research that have challenged its effectiveness. This research introduces new processes to enhance group creativity.

Selected publications

Mainemelis, C., & Ronson, S. (2006). Ideas are born in fields of play: Toward a theory of play and creativity in organizational settings. Research in Organizational Behavior, 27, 81-131.
Harvey, S. (2013). A Different Perspective: The Multiple Effects of Deep Level Diversity on Group Creativity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 822-832. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2013.04.004 [link]
Harvey, S., & Kou, C. Y. (2013). Collective engagement in creative tasks: The role of evaluation in the creative process in groups. Administrative Science Quarterly. doi:10.1177/0001839213498591 [link]
Harvey, S. (2014). Creative Synthesis: Exploring the Process of Extraordinary Group Creativity. Academy of Management Review. doi:10.5465/amr.2012.0224 [link]

Link to the publication’s UCL Discovery page

Last updated Sunday, 27 July 2014


Research groups

Organisations & Innovation

Research areas

Social psychology of organizations

Research topics

Creativity; Diversity; Group creativity; Group dynamics; Group processes; Interdisciplinarity