I. Kuzmickaja, X. Wang, D. Graziotin, G. Dodero, and P. Abrahamsson, “In need of creative mobile service ideas? Forget adults and ask young children“, SAGE Open, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 1-15, 2015. DOI: .
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Previous studies about technological innovation have suggested that creativity is a key component of innovation, and that customers are a great source of creative ideas for new product development. After all, customers are those that..actually use products and know them better. We should listen to them.
On the other hand, much research on creativity has shown that those with purchasing power (that is, adults) are constrained by existing technology frame. Thus, they are not the best source of creative ideas. On the other hand young children (aged 7-12) are considered digital natives yet are free from existing technology frames. They are also considered as a highly creative source of ideas.
This knowledge brought us to develop a study to investigate whether young children could be a possible source for creative (yet, implementable and of quality) ideas for mobile service development.
We obtained a set of 41,000 ideas, produced by thousands of people of different age in Finland, which were related to mobile service. These ideas were obtained from a research project of the VTT in 2006. That means that the participants produced these ideas before the mass adoption of smartphones, which began in 2007 with the first iPhone.
Therefore, we had a unique opportunity to compare the creativity of mobile service ideas from young children and adults. Also, we could study if these ideas were actually implemented in the next years.
We randomly selected two groups of 400 ideas from adults and young children. These ideas were evaluated by several evaluators using an existing creativity framework. Furthermore, they checked if these ideas were useful or not.