The Role of Materiality in the Evaluation of Novel Ideas: Evidence from Gastronomy and Performing Arts


Processes of novelty generation and adoption have received much more attention than novelty evaluation. This paper explores the internal processes enacted by organizations to recognize and assess novel ideas for further implementation by focusing on the role that artifacts play in identifying the creative potential of an idea versus another one. Our empirical study focuses on the evaluation of novelty in the form of new experiences and builds on the analysis of two highly creative organizations, elBulli restaurant, led by chef Ferran Adrià, and the Italian Drama Academy Nico Pepe. We find that organizations implement three distinct processes to evaluate the novelty of ideas: analyzing, structuring, and formalizing. In these processes, artifacts play a key role in making novel ideas tangible by anticipating audiences’ reactions, integrating the novelty generated into an organizational corpus of knowledge, and consolidating novel ideas for future applications. Our results show that these processes take place iteratively in all phases of the idea’s journey, increasingly leading to the collective identification and assessment of novelty.

Publication type: 
Scientific Article
Date de parution: 
Research in the Sociology of Organizations