UCL School of Management Associate Professor Sarah Harvey and Honorary Research Associate Poornika Ananth have co-authored a research paper that has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ). Entitled, ‘Ideas in the Space Between: Stockpiling and Processes for Managing Ideas in a Creative Portfolio’, the paper explores the role of idea stockpiling in creative work and examines how creators manage ideas across multiple projects when developing creative portfolios.
Challenging the well-established narrative that an idea develops within a single focal creative project, Sarah and Poornika’s paper suggests that creators shift ideas across projects by stockpiling ideas from one project, transforming them into resources, and mobilising them in their portfolios. To investigate this theory, the co-authors performed a qualitative study of creative workers in independent theatre and in architecture and determined that creativity is not only storable, but can also be extracted from storage for future use.
Former AQS editor Henrich Greve wrote a blog to specifically discuss Sarah and Poornika’s findings, noting that, ‘perhaps we should not be surprised? A lot of creativity is culturally judged, and some of it even creates culture. We learn from theatrical plays and from watching buildings, if they are creative. The creative individual who stores and retrieves ideas and inspiration also creates ideas and inspiration for us, and is doing society a great service.’