Green Innovation: Creativity, Risk and Social context – GrICRiS
Green Innovation: Creativity, Risk and Social context (GrICRiS)
Innovation and creativity are two different but linked concepts. Creativity is a human act that involves the generation of novel and useful ideas. Innovation entails the implementation of these ideas into new products and processes. Innovation greatly depends on the human ability to create. Thus, the creative cognition of individuals is a key building block for innovation. There is an urgent need to investigate how and how much creative abilities are linked to different types of innovation.
The objective of GrICRiS is to propose new ways of incorporating behavioral arguments in the creativity-innovation channel, especially in relation to green products and services.
The purpose of green innovation is to generate – with limited natural and energy resources – durable products with lower energy consumption and/or improved environmental quality. <br />Green innovation can be pro-active, when it is guided by the cognitive traits of individuals and societies. GrICRiS wants to contribute to the literature on the role of these traits in the design of an effective policy mix. Yet individual and social cognitive traits are by their nature intangible and are hard to measure. Lacking a way of systematically identifying intangibles, researchers have relied on tangible proxy indicators, which are however poor approximations of the theoretical concepts on which they are based. <br />Our aim is to directly measure and incorporate intangible factors – such as cultural and personality traits –, in some way connected to the social context, in framing individual and group creativity leading to pro-green innovative behaviors: direct elicitation of sociocultural attitudes as trust, social capital, and tolerance will help us avoid the methodological problems of using proxy indicators for creativity. In this regard, GRICRIS proposes a novel methodology which combines experimental methods with insights from economic geography. On the one side, experimental/behavioral economists have highlighted the importance of contextual factors in understanding how individuals make economic choices and what influences their performance when creativity is involved. Nonetheless, the importance of context and the role of culture are tangentially acknowledged but never elaborated. On the other side, economic geography, while taking seriously the issues of the constitution of culture and economy and the relational nature of economic decision making, has moved away from behavioralism at a time when critical approaches are arguably more salient than ever. This suggests the possibility of mutually-constructive rapprochement between the two fields when studying the creative process.
The main methodological contribution of the project is the design of appropriate experiments in order to assess and compare creativity leading to non-green and to green innovation. The main part of the project consists in conducting economic experiments either in the laboratory (with undergraduate students in Economics) and in the field (with professionals using creativity in their working activity).
Furthermore, we use insights from our experimental results to enrich existing models of green innovation and creativity through (new) behavioral arguments. In particular, we focus on cognitive (risk aversion), psychological (intrinsic motivation) and sociological (social preferences and context, organizational modes) arguments.
Then, this requires implementing a multi-method approach (combining experimental economics, social psychology and economic geography). In particular, participants in GrICRiS experimental sessions (in both the lab and the field ones) are also interviewed through a semi-structured questionnaire about pro-environmental habits, relational habits, entertainment habits, tolerance and openness to others, social capital and sense of belonging to the place where the experiment is run.
From October 2018 till June 2020 (21 months of GrICRiS), we have contributed to the understanding of:
- The impact of risk preferences on the creative process [Task 2.1]: we find that risk aversion has a positive effect on the creative performance of the French participants in our laboratory experiments with undergraduate students. This sheds some light on the controversial findings linking risk taking and creativity that exist in the economic and psychology literature.
- Creativity and organizational mode [Task 3.1]: we provide evidence of a negative interplay between monetary incentives and creativity at the group level (crowding out of intrinsic group motivation) with French experimental participants. The latter effect is found more in the experimental sessions with experts in creativity than in those with undergraduate students.
- Creativity and social context [Task 3.2]: we find that social habits and leisure activities have a positive effect on the creative performance of the French participants in our laboratory experiments with undergraduate students.
During the remaining 21 months of GrICRiS, these results will be extended to:
- the other two countries involved in the project (Italy and Spain);
- the specific case of Green Creativity, i.e., Tasks 1.1, 1.2 and 2.2, and the “green” part of Tasks 3.1 and 3.2.
Thanks to the research work made in the first 21 months of GrICRiS, two main research spillovers arised:
1. A new laboratory of experimental economics, the Creativ’Lab, will be born soon at the BETA of University of Strasbourg, where Patrick Llerena, one of the GrICRiS members, is affiliated. The idea of the Creativ’Lab came to the mind of Patrick Llerena by working with the PI of GrICRiS on Working Papers no. 9-10 (see Section E of the intermediate report), which mainly focus on group creativity. Note that the Creativ’Lab will be entirely financed with local funds in Strasbourg, hence it will cost nothing in terms of the GrICRiS budget. In the initial idea of Patrick Llerena, the Creativ’Lab should have started its activities on September 2020, thereby serving the second part of the GrICRiS project, with the analysis of the impact of organization modes (Task 3.1) and social contexts (Task 3.2) on group creativity among entrepreneurs and experts. Due to the COVID-19 side-effects, the Creativ’Lab should start its activities within the GrICRiS project in January 2021.
2. A collaboration with the Clinical Addictology Unit of the Nice University Hospital has started within the GrICRiS. In fact, beginning in September 2020, the GREDEG members of the project will run lab-in-the-field experiments on green creativity with patients of this unit, under the supervision of the Head of the Unit, Dr. Faredj Cherick and of the PI of GrICRiS, Giuseppe Attanasi. The Clinical Addictology Unit is a 14-bed inpatient unit dedicated to patients with both product addictions (alcohol, cocaine, heroin, tobacco, etc.) and behavioral addictions (food, sex, pathological gambling, etc.) that require withdrawal and treatment of somatic and psychiatric comorbidities. The green-creativity tasks elaborated by GrICRiS members will be one of tools of the art therapies implemented with each group of 14 patients hosted for 2 consecutive weeks in the unit, with 14 different patients each 2 weeks.
From October 2018 till June 2020 (21 months of GRICRIS), we have published 8 articles in peer-reviewed Journals (see items no. 1, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 in Section D.1 of the intermediate report):
- 6 of which on international peer-reviewed Journals and 2 of which on national (1 French, 1 Spanish) peer-reviewed Journals;
- 5 of which of rang 2 according to the CNRS ranking of Economic Journals.
Note that, although none of these articles has Green Creativity as main research keyword, all these works attack some strictly related research topics which are propaedeutic to a follow up creativity investigation. Such topics are, between the others, ambiguity, trust, reputation or uncertainty.
In Sections E.1-E.4 of the intermediate report we list the working papers and the works which are currently in progress. Moving from Section D.1 (published articles) to Sections E.1-E.4 (working papers and works in progress) one may notice the natural transition from the aforementioned preliminary works, to our most recent investigations, which are more specifically centered on Green Creativity.
Furthermore, while only 25% (2 out of the 8) published articles since now have – among the list of co-authors – more than 1 member of GRICRIS, around 55% (17 out of 30) of the works listed in Sections E.1-E.4 (working papers and works in progress) have been co-written by two or more members of GRICRIS (with 8 works having 4 or more GRICRIS team members as contributors).
As for the dissemination of results, we have already presented the preliminary results of GRICRIS in 16 international scientific conferences (see no. 2-5 and 17-28 in Section D.1) and 7 French scientific conferences, workshop or seminars (see no. 7 and 29-34 in Section D.1). Furthermore, we implemented several other activities of diffusion of GRICRIS methodology and results addressed to public and private stakeholders and to the civil society in France, Italy and Switzerland (see no. 8-10 and 35-42 in Section D.1).
In recent years, environmental concerns have encouraged firms to specialize on the production of environmentally-friendly products and services, via the so-called green innovation (or eco-innovation).
The purpose of green innovation is to generate durable products and services with low impact on the environment. For green innovation to take place, a creative process efficiently transforming scarce resources in environmentally-friendly products is needed.
The aim of the project is to propose new ways of incorporating behavioral arguments in the creativity-innovation channel related to green products and services. In particular, our project has been thought so as to shed light on the following research questions:
1) Do different forms of creativity contribute differently to green vs. traditional innovation?
2) Does creative agents’ risk aversion support or inhibit green innovation?
3) Are some organizational and social contexts more inclined to green-type innovation processes?
The main methodological contribution of the project is the design of appropriate experiments in order to assess and compare creativity leading to green innovation, following the three above mentioned research questions. Furthermore, we use insights from our experimental results to enrich existing models of green innovation and creativity through (new) behavioral arguments. In particular, we focus on cognitive (risk aversion), psychological (intrinsic motivation) and sociological (social context and organizational modes) arguments.
This should shed light on the role played by creativity on green innovation, and on the role of different socio-cultural and institutional contexts on pro-green creativity, by comparing the French situation to other European contexts. Indeed, conducting laboratory and field experiments across three EU countries (France, Italy and Spain) with both economic students (control group) and creative entrepreneurs should allow us to account both for geographical/institutional differences and for creative paths having a prominent impact for eco-innovation.
Madame Michela Chessa (UNIVERSITE NICE SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
Università di Milano-Bicocca / Dipartimento di Economia, Metodi quantitativi e Strategie d'impresa (DEMS)
LINEEX Universidad de Valencia / Laboratory for Research in Experimental Economics (LINEEX)
UNS - GREDEG UNIVERSITE NICE SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion
Help of the ANR 210,600 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2018 - 36 Months