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Inventors Must Counter the Negative Effects of of Success on Creativity

R&D Managers who want to sustain the creativity of the inventors in their departments must cope with an unexpected problem – success – according to the January issue of Management Science.

R&D Managers who want to sustain the creativity of the inventors in their departments must cope with an unexpected problem – success – according to the Management Insights feature in the January issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®).

Management Insights, a regular feature of the journal, is a digest of important research in business, management, operations research, and management science. It appears in every issue of the monthly journal.

“Past Success and Creativity over Times: A Study of Inventors in the Hard Disk Drive Industry” is by Pino G. Audia of the University of California, Berkeley and Jack A. Goncalo of Cornell University.

R&D managers interested in increasing the creative output of their departments should be aware that successful inventors could become less creative over time, warn the authors.

In their study, they find that inventors who have experienced success in their efforts to patent their inventions continue to generate new patents but, over time these patents tend to be less divergent from their previous work. This finding implies that allocating more resources to the most prolific inventors may increase the productivity of their department, but it may diminish the extent to which their creative output reflects the exploration of new areas of research.

The negative effects of success on creativity can be managed, say Professors Audia and Goncalo, by encouraging inventors to collaborate with one another and by making “exploration” an explicit and desirable organizational goal.

The current issue of Management Insights is available at URl. The full papers associated with the Insights are available to Management Science subscribers. Individual papers can be purchased at Additional issues of Management Insights can be accessed at

The Insights in the current issue are:

- Vicarious Learning in New Product Introductions in the Early Years of a Converging Market by Raji Srinivasan, Pamela Haunschild, Rajdeep Grewal

- Stable Farsighted Coalitions in Competitive Markets by Mahesh Nagarajan, Greys Sosic

- Optimal Advertising and Promotion Budgets in Dynamic Markets with Brand Equity as a Mediating Variable by S. Sriram, Manohar U. Kalwani

- Operations Systems with Discretionary Task Completion by Wallace J. Hopp, Seyed M. R. Iravani, Gigi Y. Yuen

- Shipment Consolidation: Who Pays For It and How Much by Moshe Dror, Bruce C. Hartman

- The Economics of Remanufacturing Under Limited Component Durability and Finite Product Life Cycles by Roland Geyer, Luk N. Van Wassenhove, Atalay Atasu

- Minimizing Information Loss and Preserving Privacy by Syam Menor, Sumit Sarkar

- A Good Sign for Multivariate Risk Taking by Louis Eeckhoudt, Béatrice Rey, Harris Schlesinger

- Equivalent Information for Multiobjective Interactive Procedures by Mariano Luque, Rafael Caballero, Julian Molina, Francisco Ruiz

INFORMS journals are strongly cited in Journal Citation Reports, an industry source. In the JCR subject category “operations research and management science,” Management Science ranked in the top 10 along with two other INFORMS journals.

The special MBA issue published by Business Week includes Management Science and two other INFORMS journals in its list of 20 top academic journals that are used to evaluate business school programs. Financial Times includes Management Science and four other INFORMS journals in its list of academic journals used to evaluate MBA programs.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial engineering, and telecommunications.

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