Communications of the Association for Information Systems


In this paper, we explore the complex process of how ideas evolve in organizations that are engaged in developing and using information technology (IT)-based systems. We put forward a framework emphasizing the interconnection between creativity and institutionalization. We argue that ideas are embedded in existing institutionalized technologies in organizations and that emerging technologies introduce neoteric ideas to them. Furthermore, we argue that, when attempting to introduce technology-based ideas, human actors will focus their attention on ideas embedded in existing institutionalized technologies while informally evaluating and making sense of these ideas. Moreover, we suggest that conflicts between competing frames of reference during this evaluation may result in the rejection, adoption, or multiplication of new technology ideas. Drawing on information systems (IS)-based theories of creativity, Scandinavian institutionalism, and empirical data from two Danish organizations, we investigate the interplay between creativity, technology, and human sensemaking in the process of translating and transforming technology ideas into full-fledged technological innovations.