Creative Knowledge Environments in the Innovation System
4 Background This paper summarises a grant proposal to the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA). The aim of this research project is to increase our understanding for factors that are crucial for creative working processes and innovative results in knowledge organisations. Its objective is to make a contribution to the construction of a model, which describes how to increase creativity with work teams in knowledge organisations. The reason to pursue this project is first that knowledge workers are key-persons in the innovation system, and second that we know surprisingly little about what is important for knowledge workers to develop creative processes. This research is based on two assumptions. One is that innovations are based on creative processes. Another is that social scientists argue that we now have a society, which can be seen as a knowledge and network society. Research about innovations deal to a great extent with conditions and mechanisms conducive to innovations. In this research we include the question of how to organise and manage innovative activities. A related problem is how creative research and knowledge environments should be organised and managed. These two problem areas are linked in several ways. First, R&D and knowledge are needed for innovations, since universities, research institutes and industry labs belong to the innovation system. Second, a commercial environment, entrepreneurs and companies are needed for knowledge to be transformed into and contribute to innovations. Third, we are now in a state where knowledge production and use of knowledge is increasing, but where knowledge about leadership, organising, management and work processes in ´the new knowledge production´ is scarce. In the recent and highly debated literature about the new knowledge production (Gibbons et al., 1994; Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 1997), it is argued that we now face a changed and contextualised knowledge production, where various producers join into new coalitions, networks and organisations between universities, industry and government. Mode 2 and Triple Helix are the concepts used for this new phase in the changed institutionalisation of knowledge development. In research and technology policy literature a new contract between the academy and society is discussed (Martin et al., 1996; Bragesjö, 2001). The previous contract meant that society left researchers free to do research in line with their own ideas and objectives. This was regarded by politicians to lead to progress, development and prosperity for citizens and society as a whole. The new re-negotiated contract means that society and its actors (e.g, companies, public organisations and NGO: s) participate in knowledge production in a more active, direct and leading capacity. In the private sector changes in knowledge production towards ´learning organisations´ are taking place. But also in the mediating fields between societies´ public and private spheres an increasing development of knowledge production and knowledge use in networks is taking place. And the development of regions described in the literature is typical for what we call a ´network society´ (Sörlin & Törnqvist, 2000). Studies on new knowledge producers are so far few and empirical studies of knowledge workers and their working environments are even scarcer.
Innovation; working processes; knowledge organizations; creativity; knowledge workers; network
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