Creative Employees and Creative Organizations
One can cite many examples confirming that organization’s success is largely influenced by its employees, their competences and their ability to think and act creatively. Transforming information into knowledge, and especially into deep knowledge, requires not only individual employees, but also the entire organization, to think and act creatively (Amabile, 1988; Proctor, 2010). Creativity entails generating something new from existing information and knowledge (Baron, 2012). That is why it is often compared to the knowledge system (Basadur, Basadur, &C Licina, 2012) which assists firms in solving various problems and increasing the level of effectiveness (Houghton &C DiLiello, 2010). Creativity is particularly important in solving weak or generally unstructured problems (Mumford, Robledo, & Hester, 2011). Thanks to creativity, organizations generate new situations, added value and contribute, e.g., to the improvement in customer satisfaction. Organizational creativity is necessary to trigger new behaviors and interpretations in unexpected situations (Bechky & Okhuysen, 2011). Creativity is believed to be a means by which organizations and their participants can create significant lasting value for their diverse stakeholders (George, 2007). It is a kind of organizational ability, meaning adaptation to changing environmental conditions, by constantly acquiring new resources and creating new configurations from them (Arora 8c Nandkumar, 2012; Olszak 8c Kisielnicki, 2018; Sirmon et ah, 2011; Zahra, Sapienza, & Davidsson, 2006).
Today, it is deemed that creativity in new technology sectors, as well as in traditional, mature organizations, seems to play a greater role in success than production systems (Styhre & Sundgren, 2005). Therefore, it is not surprising that many organizations and managers are looking for ways, tools, and infrastructure to improve organizational creativity and its computer support (Heweet et ah, 2005; Shneiderman, 2007). Nakakoji (2006) assumes that ICTs can be used to (1) improve employees’ ability to perform creative tasks, (2) support users in acquiring knowledge in a given problem area to unleash their creativity, and (3) provide users with new skills in problem solving. In contrast, Indurkhya (2013) claims that ICTs stimulate users’ imagination, facilitate the creation of new ideas, and modeling of creative processes.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) as a Driver of Change and Innovation
Interest in ICT as a factor in socioeconomic development is not a new phenomenon and has long been the subject of numerous studies. Many authors agree (Rivard et ah, 2004; Roztocki & Weistroffer, 2008; Tapscott 8c Williams, 2006) that the development of organizations and entire economies depends on the level of investment in science and technology. It is believed that ICTs, especially today, have become a strategic tool for economic growth, determining the competitiveness of many organizations and their innovative development (Drucker, 2014; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Tan, Steinbach, 8c Kumar, 2005; Steiger, 2010).
The development of the Internet and the spectacular successes of firms which quickly became market leaders and were valued by investors many times higher than traditional organizations, caused an increase in the interest in the strategic importance of information technologies. It was reflected, inter alia, in appointing IT managers to management boards and decision-making bodies. Rapid careers, but often also the failures of many Internet companies at the end of the 20th century, have shown that even the best ideas and technologies improperly implemented can plunge organizations financially. In fact, firms differ in their ability to extract business benefits from investments in information technologies.
The era of ICT development, which began in the 1960s, was mainly based on the principles of ordinary automation and support of simple, operational activities of the organization. Nowadays, the role of ICT has changed dramatically. ICTs are used to (1) develop modern strategies and business models, (2) create sources of competitive advantage, (3) make fundamental transformations in organizations, and (4) integrate and develop the entire ecosystem (Figure 1.3).
Not only do IT technologies support the basic tasks and functions of today’s organization, but they have become a critical element in the development of business strategy. An example is Cisco which treats computer networks as an integral part of firm’s strategy and uses these networks to interact with customers and suppliers. There are many examples of firms that, with the participation of ICT, are integrated with a modular, distributed, and global infrastructure that allows them
Figure 1.3 ICT as a factor in introducing changes and innovations.
Source: Own elaboration based on (Rivard et a!., 2004).
to do work, regardless of time and distance. Technologies merge into social relations and include them in the consumer and corporate space. Many of the products and services produced are implemented in the cloud (cloud computing) and it is increasingly difficult to separate them from the ICT infrastructure and find out who is the producer and who is the customer.
Technologies enable crucial transformations as well as creation of new values for an organization and the whole society. They facilitate the organization of new markets, introduction of innovative products and services, and emergence of creative sectors (e.g., art, computer games, music, publishing). Information systems such as: MRP II (Manufacturing Resource Planning), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CMS (Content Management Systems), and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) have led to significant reengineering in workflow, organizational structures, ways of contacting customers, integrating, monitoring business processes, as well as intellectual and social capital management (Banker et al., 2006; Bharadwaj et al. 2013; Ettlie Sc Pavlou, 2006; Kohli Sc Grover, 2008; Straub Sc Watson, 2001; Subramaniam Sc Venkatraman, 2001; Rai et al., 2012).
ICTs are increasingly seen as a tool for gaining competitive advantage. CRM (Customer Relation Management), SCM (Supply Chain Management), and e-commerce systems enable the creation of unique virtual values, development of more effective and long-term relationships with customers, customization of products and creation of new organizational roles, and market structures. It should be highlighted that ICTs also have a huge impact on other sectors and industries, thus contributing to the creation of new jobs, professions, and specializations. In both large and small firms, ICTs are used to reduce labor costs, improve quality, provide a better level of service, design and production control, etc.
ICTs are extremely important in designing and integrating various information systems for firms and in developing flexible, multi-module, secure applications that meet the requirements of customers, employees, and suppliers and helps in creating an ergonomic, friendly and intuitive work environment. Therefore, one can share the opinions of many authors (Mitchell, Inouye Sc Blumenthal, 2003) that ICTs have become the cement binding various areas, especially science, business and culture, in which new, creative activities can be developed. For example, scientists can use computers to analyze huge amounts of data from the Internet and based on them discover new knowledge that could not be extracted using traditional means. The Internet of Tilings (IoT) technology has become a source of inspiration for many architects and designers. Advanced sensor and signal processing technologies open up unprecedented possibilities in composing and developing computer games, and e-book technology has introduced revolutionary changes in the publishing industry.
The impact of information technology on the economy and society at large is undeniable. It seems that this was largely determined by its characteristics: connectivity, convergence, ubiquity, and development of miscellaneous software (Rivard et al., 2004). Computers and telecommunications today create a global digital infrastructure that is the basis for economic transformation. This infrastructure is characterized by, inter alia, providing the opportunity to communicate to a growing group of people who send text, video, and voice data. It gives unlimited access to various information resources, the Internet and network services. Increasingly, connectivity is becoming wireless, which makes communication even simpler and unlimited. It is also worth noting that modern computers, laptops, television sets, radios, and projectors bear the hallmarks of convergence. In biology, the term means that unrelated organisms tend to become similar when they adapt to the same environment. Currently, the boundaries between many devices are somewhat blurred. There is also a trend to create multifunctional solutions with the features of computers, mailbox, fax, notebook, TV, radio, and open systems, providing the possibility of easy connection of new systems from various suppliers and the construction of modular and flexible architectures.
The advancing miniaturization of equipment together with its increasing power and decreasing manufacturing costs means that computers are ubiquitous in human life. By placing microprocessors, sensors in materials and various devices, firms are able to create objects that allow them to be closer to customers, suppliers, etc. An example is automatic control, monitoring of work processes, self-monitoring structures, automated factories and robots.
In recent years, the functioning of the organization has particularly been influenced by integrated MRP II, ERP class IT solutions, as well as CRM, BI, and group work systems, computer networks, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Tilings. Another type of software that has undoubtedly changed the face of organization management is computer simulations and virtual reality. Computer simulations with elements of artificial intelligence allow users to create virtual scenarios without bearing real risk. Virtual reality allows organizations to go one step further, namely to create an environment visually similar to the real one on the computer.
Modern studies indicate that the greatest impact on the development of the organization will belong to technologies such as (UNCTAD, 2018):
■ Big Data analysis (BD) - it can assist organizations in managing or resolving critical global issues, producing new scientific breakthroughs, advancing human health and improve decision-making, by providing real-time streams of information.
■ Hie Internet ofThings (IoT) - it enables the condition and actions of connected objects and machines to be monitored and managed, and provides more effective monitoring of the natural world, animals and people.
■ Artificial intelligence (AI) - it can be employed in image recognition, problem solving, and logical reasoning that sometimes surpasses those of humans. Artificial intelligence, notably combined with robotics, also has the capacity to remodel production processes and business, in particular manufacturing.
■ Biotechnology - it enables very specific gene editing for human medicine, making personalized treatments possible for certain conditions combined with AI and BD as well as for genetic modification of plants and animals.
Notably, these technologies offer the solutions and opportunities that are (UNCTAD, 2018):
■ better - they offer more effective solutions to problems, provide new capabilities and opportunities, and enable much more efficient use of natural and human resources;
■ cheaper — the cost of technologies such as microchips and renewable energy has decreased significantly as they have become more powerful and/or efficient;
■ faster - the new technologies are disseminating ever more rapidly around the world, driven by Internet connectivity and sharply falling prices;
■ scalable -they often provide small-scale solutions that can be quickly scaled up to satisfy human needs for energy, food, clean water, health care and education; and
■ easy to use - they have altered previously complex, labor- and/or time-intensive tasks, such as searching for patterns in huge data sets, to become almost effortless, while growing increasingly transparent to users.
These technologies have beneficial applications in health care, agriculture, energy, water management and quality, construction, and education.
At the conclusion of these considerations, it should be mentioned that the ICT mission has changed significantly. ICTs cease to perform a subordinate function, focused on supporting business and catering to its needs (Bharadwaj et al., 2013; Kahre, Hoffmann, & Ahlemann, 2017). The Strategic Alignment Model (SAM), which has been in force for decades, developed by Henderson and Venkatraman (1993) and used to measure the adoption of ICT to business needs, and organizational efficiency mainly, has lost some importance. The roles have reversed - ICTs have become the moderator of change and the provider of new business opportunities. Until now, it was business that determined the scope and area of ICT use. Similarly to the leverage effect, we can talk today about the leverage effect of digital resources and new and distinctive values for the entire business and ecosystem powered by them. This means that, based on digital resources, firms compete in markets, develop original business models, and create value.