Creativity and learning are inter-related concepts that serve as antecedents to the development of a learning organization. The entire process is cyclical in nature and while it is sometimes useful to clarify certain constructs such as learning and creativity neither can occur without the other. Creation leads to learning as learning allows people to create and re-create. Xu & Rickards (2007, pg 217) characterize creativity as “the process through which individuals and groups arrive at ideas that are new and valued to those individuals, groups and others within their wider communities of practice.” Creating ideas suggests an evaluation process, not of the idea itself just yet, but rather an evaluation of the experiences and information that led to the knowledge available for idea generation and discernment. Thus, learning is not simply about correcting mistakes and solving problems, it is also about crafting novel approaches (Garvin, Edmondson & Gino, 2008) to complex challenges.
Learning organizations are those capable of consistently turning information garnered into the specific knowledge required to increase the organization’s capacity to renew itself (Positive turbulence). At the practical level, the ability to learn and adapt is critical to the long term success of organizations (Gino, Argote, Spektor & Todorova 2010). Moreover, the learning organization will be dissatisfied with the status quo (Bass, 2000) because of the combined efforts of the organizations creative minds at work. As a consequence, learning organizations are usually more flexible and faster to respond to new challenges than competitors (Slater & Narver, 1993) which enables firms to maintain long-term competitive advantages (Dickson, 1996). The competitive advantage gained provides more experiences and these experiences stimulate creativity by improving the knowledge and insight of each individual member of the organization allowing them to share and combine these contributions to create a collective product.
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