Finance

Ensuring the optimal balance between time and creativity

October 15, 2014

How can you make sure your employees are creative, while at the same time getting products into the market quickly? Which variables ensure the optimal balance between time pressure and creativity? Mendy van Helvoirt RC explored this in her thesis. Her thesis is one of the three theses nominated for the VRC Thesis Award.

Developing revolutionary innovations at breakneck speed 

What did you examine?

“It is important for my employer, Royal Philips, to be able to get good products into the market quickly. This means that the research department needs to be able to develop revolutionary innovations quickly that can be introduced into the market before the competition does. This leads to a situation that requires that Philips Research and its employees are creative under pressure. For my research, I examined the relationship between creative time pressure and creativity. I asked how Philips can ensure that creative teams find the optimal balance between time pressure and creativity.”

How did you approach this?

“After conducting a literary study, I defined three themes with a total of seven variables that positively influence the relationship between time pressure and creativity, such as the employee’s commitment to the company, clear-cut goals and trust. I then tested these variables among 12 employees working on three projects. These projects were assessed by the Research Program Office/Program as creative and less creative.”

Degree of commitment

What were the results?

“For six of the variables, employees of the creative and non-creative teams gave similar responses, so I am unable to make any conclusions from this. But the variable that did yield differences was the degree of commitment of employees towards the company. Employees involved in creative projects are honored to work for Philips or stated that they always wanted to do so. Employees involved in the less creative projects feel it is a pleasant working environment or are satisfied with the company. But they do not feel the same sense of pride as the other employees and could just as easily be working for a different company.”

You work as a controller for Philips. Why is this research relevant to your work?

“I’m asked that often. At first, my research may appear to have little to do with controlling. Project portfolio management is very important at Philips. The business cases that we controllers make are used to determine which projects are initiated and which are not. Controllers calculate the value of projects, giving them a financial value. The degree of creativity and time pressure are important variables for determining the value of a project.”

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Management Summary Master thesis, Mendy van Helvoirt (2014)


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