An alternative theory of idea generation

R. M. Woodhead, Mohammed Ali Berawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper seeks to stimulate further research into 'practical' idea generation by challenging the current. It builds on many years of Action Research (Argyris, 1999) in major technology projects which eventually led to a doctoral study where formal logic was used to develop a framework to improve invention. This paper draws on those findings that were proven statistically with a 'one-proportion test' and a survey (Berawi, 2006). It argues that the field of Innovation Management has become detached from the act of invention (i.e. idea generation) because of an assumption brought by cognitive theories of creativity that hold the location of ideas 'exclusively' within the human brain. This 'assumption', grounded in cognitive theory, is believed to be the reason for low levels of research, as it seems like a problem area already solved. This position has caused a lack of research into idea generation, and is challenged by way of an alternative view based on a relationship between intentionality and causality, which is offered as a way to develop new perspectives that open the field to further enquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Management Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Function
  • Idea generation
  • Innovation
  • Innovation management
  • Outcome
  • Purpose
  • Value


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