How do award winners come up with innovative ideas?

Caird, Sally (1994). How do award winners come up with innovative ideas? Creativity and Innovation Management, 3(1) pp. 3–10.



There is surprisingly little research on how innovators in small high-technological companies come up with their innovative ideas. This paper is based on the results of both qualitative and quantitative interviews which were conducted with twenty four winners of the U.K. Government sponsored Small Firms Merit Award for Research and Technology (SMART). This research explored the perceptions of SMART winners on: the nature of invention and innovation as a creative process; the sources of innovative ideas and their importance for commercial outcomes; the conditions responsible for the commercial success of innovative projects. An interesting finding from this research is that having good ideas is often not a problem to the award winners. As one participant said the hardest thing is to say no to ideas. The big question is which ideas have market potential, not whether you have an idea.

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