ions to problems. They state that the creative “problem solving (design) process” is a “sequence of stages∙∙∙ on a journey to a destination” which once experienced and learnt is internalized by the individual [60] . The steps in their model “need not be linear” [60] which allows for the random nature of the creative process, this was also recognized by Wallas who stated, “it is unlikely that creative procedure can ever by strictly formulated” [53] . The seven steps in their model were also identified by Koberg and Bagnallas alternating between being divergent or convergent as well as having an evaluation step at the end of the process for review and planning.

Table 6. Breakdown of the Koberg & Bagnall “universal traveler” model.

Source: Adapted from [43] .

This contrasts with the other stage models where the focus is on verification of the solution (Wallas), testing of the solution (Rossman), judging the solution (Osborn) and accepting/implementing the solution (Parnes-Osborn).

Models of creativity have also been developed to reflect certain contexts and specific environments such as engineering, commercial and business planning. These models still look to achieve a balance of creative and analytical thinking. An example of this is a model put forward for creative strategic planning by Bandrowski’s process for creative strategic planning. In this model (Table 7), Bandrowski places “judgment” in the middle as an important part of the analytical part of the process and he specifies the specific creative skills that are to be used to achieve the result through the process including skills in insight development, creative leaps, and creative contingency planning [61] .

Other models also look at providing a greater proportion to the external reality that an individual is applying their creativity to as well as the internal processes that they are employing, an example of this is the model put forward by Fritz as the “process for creation” [44] . He identifies the beginning of the process as the creative acts of conception and vision followed by analysis of current reality, action, evaluation, public scrutiny (building momentum), and completion as well as seeing the creative process is cyclical in nature-“living with your creation” being a meaningful end part of the process that leads to the next creative conception and vision.

Fritz’s model, which is shown in Table 8 focuses on the creative aspects of the individual and was sceptical of formulaic approaches to the classification of the creative process presented by other models. The stages identified in the models of Wallas, Rossman and Osborn focused on the identification of the problem and the application of a creative solution in contrast to Fritz whose focus is on the individual and the identification of problems and creative problem solving through their actions. The actions of individuals are fundamental to the identification of a problem as well as its solution and the level of motivation that an individual has affects these actions. A range of factors can impact on motivation including autonomy, ownership, influence, reward, challenge as well as personal

Table 7. Breakdown of the Brandowskis model for creative strategic planning.

Source: Adapted from [43] .

Table 8. Breakdown of the fritz’ process for creation.

Source: Adapted from [43] .

behaviour characteristics. In the literature relating to the motivation of staff working in organizations’ these factors can be identified; being in control, having independence, owning and influencing your own work [62] [63] [64] ; requirements to perform, achieve targets and timescales [65] [66] [67] .

6. Innovation: Social Housing

A significant amount of the literature identifies looks at innovation within social housing relating to the design and build of housing, reduced carbon usage and sustainable construction [68] - [76] . Innovation in technological advances in medicine and health care which is applied to housing services, mostly used by elderly people through telecare and assistive technologies [77] - [82] . There is very limited literature relating to innovation across the whole services provided by Housing Associations as social housing providers. Two studies that looked at innovation in HAs were undertaken by Walker & Jeanas [83] and a further study undertaken by Walker et al. [84] . Both used a two-dimensional typology put forward by Osborn [85] to look at innovations within their research studies.

This model built on the traditional split of innovation between product and process allowing for “innovation to occur at any stage of the life cycle thereby highlighting discontinuity (innovation) and continuity (organizational development) along the dimensions of services and users” [84] . Within the two-dimensional model, the first dimension focuses on the impact of organizational change upon the services that are delivered, and these are identified as existing or new ones which also includes the discontinuity of services. The second dimension focuses on the relationship of an organizational change to its users both new and existing as well as how their needs are met “which involves end-user discontinuity” [84] .

Four types of innovation were identified: the first is total innovation which includes “discontinuous change that is new to the organization and serves a new user group”, the second is expansionary innovation whereby “the change involves offering an existing service of the organization to a new user group”, the third is evolutionary innovation whereby “the change involves providing a new service to the existing user group of an organization” and the final classification is developmental innovation where “the services of an organization to its existing user group are modified or improved” [84] .

The information within Table 9 is plotted on an XY graph format whereby the two-dimensional typology and innovations identified are plotted against the four categories in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Typology of social policy innovation. Source: [85] .

Table 9. Typology of public services innovation.

Source: Adapted from [85] .

In the first study, Walker and Jeanas [83] researched innovation in three housing associations in the late 1990s. The organizations’ selected for the case studies represented the larger HAs in England who provided the most rented accommodation. A main problem identified with the case study approach was that it was not possible to gain a representative sample of housing providers as the sector is so diverse with no two organizations’ being the same [83] . The identified innovations were focused under six areas of activity: cultural change; customer focus/information technology; diversification; new management techniques; organizational expansion and organizational structure. Many of these were internally focused emphasizing service changes and reflecting the financial, commercial, customer service and performance within an operating environment that was constantly changing and becoming increasingly competitive.

From the study (Table 10), the researchers found that in relation to new innovations change is discontinuous and radical, though more limited, incremental innovation takes place through change. It was found that the iterative and dynamic nature of innovation make the process of classifying them problematic not only because this process can be subjective but also because the innovations themselves change through time. A further study [84] carried out on innovation in housing associations also measured innovations that had been identified against Osborn’s two-dimensional typology. Both studies highlighted several common themes that emerged from the transformation of the sector during the 1990s including: diversification of activity into regeneration, community facilities, care, special needs, private renting and contract management; the adoption of new organizational forms through mergers and group structures; a greater emphasis on a business ethos and management; and, a changing regulatory regime [86] [87] [88] .

7. Conclusion

This study shows that there is a process connected with innovation and that there are different definitions within the academic literature about innovation. Innovation can be considered as being product or process that is new or is existing

Table 10. Classification of case study HA innovations.

Source: Adapted from [83] .

but has been improved. There are different models regarding the process of innovation and from these it can be identified that there is a strong link to creativity as part of the innovation process. In looking at the application of innovation in social housing as part of the public sector this study has focused on two academic studies which looked at Housing Associations and Innovation and these identified that innovations can be seen with a typology as new products or services or improvements on existing products and services. Further research could be undertaken to look at innovation within the social housing sector within the United Kingdom within the twenty first century.


The author acknowledges help from his PhD supervisors at the University of Cumbria in researching the area of innovation.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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