Creative Thinking In The Transition To Sustainability: A Study Of Creativity-Relevant Processes In Canadian Energy Industry Organizations 

Dorland, AM., Davison, B., Pettigrew, R. (2021). Creative thinking in the transition to sustainability: A study of creativity-relevant processes in Canadian energy industry organizations. Journal of Creativity and Business Innovation, 7. 148 – 169. Available from

The resilience of energy industry organizations is increasingly dependent on their ability to develop creative and innovative pathways towards renewable and sustainable energy production. While the role of innovation in this sector is well documented, the ways in which energy industry leadership team members describe and operationalize creativity within their work practices, and the nature of the creativity-relevant processes that they use to develop new solutions to sector specific challenges remains unexamined. In this paper, we present a new understanding of the creative work of energy industry leaders, based on interviews with participants in the Canadian fossil fuel and renewable energy sectors. Using data from a qualitative interview-based study of fourteen Canadian energy leadership team members, this study employs the dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation (Amabile & Pratt, 2016) to situate the work practices of energy sector teams within a process of creativity and innovation and to identify practices that could be considered creativity-relevant within their daily work. We propose a conceptualization of the problem-solving work of energy industry leadership team members as creative, and provide evidence for the use of storytelling, conceptual prototyping, intra-organizational team discussions, and analogous inspiration searches as creativity-relevant processes.
Keywords: Creativity, energy industry, sustainability, innovation, creative practice

Design Thinking and Innovation Management in a High Performance coaching Context: Application to Practice.

Collaborators: Dr. Simon Raby, Mount Royal University and Laura Watson, Own The Podium.

The innovation practice of design thinking is understood as a driver of positive and disruptive innovation (IDEOU, 2019; Kelley, 2013) – a series of organizational resources, theoretical perspectives and creative protocols that can seed positive innovation and organizational transformation in established corporate cultures (Brown & Wyatt, 2010). The use of design thinking as a driver of innovation and organizational transformation has been scrutinized for decades (Brown, 2009; Cross, 2011; Liedtka, 2015). However, most of these investigations have addressed design thinking as a form of process creativity, which has contributed to the blurring of boundaries between this impactful mindset and studies of individual practices within creative industries. What has driven recent growth of attention to design thinking in contexts outside of the creative industries is a change of perspective: design thinking is increasingly characterized as a distinct innovation management practice (IDEO, 2019; Hassi & Laasko, 2011), one which can support and foster the development of creative problem solving and innovative leadership skills (Plattner, Meinel & Leifer, 2012) . Session C of the Canada Coach initiative offered through the Coaching Enhancement Program (CEP) presents a unique perspective into how creative problem solving and leadership skills can be fostered using this design-based mindset. By studying the ways that coaches participating in the Design Thinking activity as part of CEP Innovation and Change Session adopt and adapt design thinking practices in their work (both during the CEP session and in their work with athletes) we will be better able to understand the validity, contingencies and limitations associated with this designed approach to thinking.