Basser Seminar Series

Toward an Ecology Theory of Creativity in IT Products: A Study of Mobile Device Industry

Speaker: Associate Professor Ping Wang
University of Maryland

When: Wednesday 6 July, 2016, 4:00-5:00pm

Where: The University of Sydney, School of IT Building, SIT Lecture Theatre (Room 123), Level 1

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In a creative process, divergent thinking needs to be stimulated to generate novel ideas; yet these ideas must be synthesized to produce something valuable. Hence to foster creativity in developing IT products, designers need to manage the tension between novelty and value. Since forces affecting the novelty-value tension often exist outside a designer's group or organization, we apply organizational ecology to propose an industry-level, ecological model of creativity for understanding this tension in IT product development. Analyzing data on 2,903 mobile devices developed by 156 firms worldwide over a ten-year period, we found that legitimation of the products in a market niche and competition between market niches enhanced product novelty. However, not all kinds of competition stimulated novelty. Competition within each niche hampered novelty. This ecological perspective contributes to creative IT/IS research and has the potential to bridge studies of creativity and digital innovation.

Speaker's biography

At the University of Maryland, College Park, Ping Wang is the Director of Ph.D. program and an associate professor at the College of Information Studies (iSchool) and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI). He is also an affiliate associate professor at the Decision, Operations and Information Technologies department of the R. H. Smith School of Business.

Dr. Wang studies digital innovations - new ideas, practices, and products enabled by digital technologies. Specifically, his research seeks to understand the communities and ecosystems where digital innovations emerge, spread, and influence individuals, organizations, and society. He leads interdisciplinary research teams that employ diverse methods, such as natural language processing, crowdsourcing, information visualization, and social network analysis, to develop theories of digital innovation communities and ecosystems. His work has appeared in leading journals such as MIS Quarterly, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Information Visualization, and MIT Sloan Management Review. In 2010, one of his papers won the Best Published Paper Award from the Organizational Communication and Information Systems division of the Academy of Management. Dr. Wang received his MBA from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, and his Ph.D. from UCLA Anderson School.