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Dynamics of Creativity: A Study of Early Drug Discovery Scientists' Experience of Creativity Open Access

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Research and development (R&D;) innovation has become an important competitive advantage that is essential to the biopharma industry and critical to drug development (Bennani, 2012; Cuatrecasas, 2006; Douglas, et al., 2010; Garnier, 2008; Hine & Kapeleris, 2006; McKelvey, 2008; Pisano, 2006, 2010). Cultivating R&D; innovation carries a distinct challenge of balancing between fostering conditions for creativity while at the same time managing for technical, scientific and operational efficiencies. However, the trend in the industry is toward using more process management techniques focused on formalization, standardization, control and efficiency in order to accelerate drug discovery efforts (Brown & Svenson, 1998; Cardinal, 2001; Cuatrecasas, 2006; Hine & Kaperleris, 2006; Johnstone et al., 2011; Paul et al., 2010; Scannell et al., 2012; Sewing et al., 2008; Ullman & Boutellier, 2008). This study was designed to explore how early drug discovery scientists experience creativity in a highly coordinated and managed work environment. The research questions were as follows: How do scientists working in the early discovery phases of the R&D; pipeline experience creativity; and how does a highly managed and coordinated work environment influence scientists’ experience of creativity? The basis for understanding their experiences was captured through detailed stories and reflections about their personal background, early influences and professional experiences as a scientist. The sample included 10 early drug discovery scientists who work for either a pharmaceutical, biotech or bio-pharmaceutical company based in the United States of America (USA). A basic qualitative study was conducted with in-depth interviews as the primary method of data collection. Data were analyzed using multiple iterations of coding, describing and classifying to interpret what creativity means, how scientists experience creativity within their work environment and what factors influence this experience. Conclusions and implications about what creativity means, how scientists experience creativity and the various dynamics that shape this experience are presented in the following pages.

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