Creativity in the Workplace – Envisioning “The Room of Opportunity”

How can one achieve creative thinking and innovation in the workplace?

Ingunn Johanne Ness, a Senior Researcher and Leader at SLATE (Centre for the Science of Learning and technology) <insert website link>, at the University of Bergen, Norway firmly believes that every company or organization needs to ask themselves this question if they want to remain relevant.

In fact, her collaborative research working with Statoil, a Norwegian oil and gas company identified several phases of the creative process necessary for companies to instill what she calls the “Room of Opportunity” where innovative thinking and conversation happens for employees. Ness´ research offers new conceptualizations in the field of organizational creativity and was nominated for the prestigious Innovation Prize of the year in Psychology, 2017.

According to Ness, successful innovation processes develop throughout six phases and in addition to the main ingredient in every innovation, which is broad knowledge, the “Room of Opportunity” occurs when 3 underlying conditions are met: 

Openness, Curiosity and Respect.

Openness occurs when there is authentic interest for each other as persons and communication partners. Curiosity relates to the recognition of others as critical resources for the group, and being sincerely interested in their opinions and knowledge. Respect has to do with maintaining a positive social climate in the groups despite having disagreements and different viewpoints.

In essence, employees are given opportunities to discover, share conflicting ideas, and explore problem solutions using deeper-levels of thinking, imagination and conversation strategies in order to produce “break-though” innovative ideas.   Without these conditions and types of dialog, employees will only produce ideas of “incremental change” from their starting point, at best.

Ness’s work provides clear pathways for how business leaders and managers can facilitate creative processes and dialog to promote innovation in the workplace. To find out more about Ness’s work and SLATE <insert link>

Channel – Twitter post which leads to blog post on Slate Website

Keywords – Creativity, Innovation in the workplace, Room of Opportunity, Organizational Psychology, Leadership, Agile, Collaborative Learning.

Similar article would be:

Found the key to good ideas! Statoil let a researcher into their sacred den. She found the formula for successful innovation.

Project Period:

June 2018 - May 2021

Project Period:

June 2018

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Ingunn Johanne Ness

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Christiesgate 12, 2nd floor

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University of Bergen
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