Creativity + Business Discipline = Higher Profits Faster from New Product Development

Greg Stevens, James Burley, Richard Divine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


A study was conducted of 69 analysts evaluating 267 early-stage new product development (NPD) projects in a major global chemical company over a 10-year time span. Positive correlations were found between profits resulting from NPD project analyses and the degree of creativity of the analysts evaluating those projects. Creativity can be reliably measured with standard psychological instruments, such as the MBTI® Creativity Index. Analysts with MBTI Creativity Indices above the median for the group studied identified opportunities providing 12 to 13 times more profit than those with MBTI Creativity Indices below the median, when both groups were rigorously trained and coached in "stage-gate" business analysis methods. NPD requires breakthrough creativity because the first ideas for commercialization are almost never commercial until they have been substantially revised through a thought process involving branching. It is therefore most productive to preselect innovative, creative people for the early stages of NPD, and then teach this group the business discipline required in stage-gate NPD processes. The results show that by utilizing these principles, both the overall speed and productivity of typical NPD processes can be increased approximately nine-fold, or nearly an order of magnitude when compared to today's typical linear stage-gate processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-468
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1999


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