Third-party funded project

Governance of Creativity: Distributing Uncertainty in Collaboration Practices

Research department: Economy and Civil Society

IRS Research Topic: Research on Innovation Processes

Project Leader within IRS: Prof. Dr. Oliver Ibert

Project Team: Dr. Lukas Vogelgsang

Consortium: Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (Coordination) Free University of Berlin

Funding Organization: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Duration: 06/2016 - 12/2019


There is a consensus across several disciplines that creativity is not the outcome of individual ingenuity, but creative collaboration. Therefore creativity becomes an issue of purposeful organization rather than individual inspiration. This very notion of organized creativity evokes immediate tension: creative processes are inherently uncertain and elude intentional organization, but nonetheless unfold typically among networks of actors embedded in different temporal-spatial contexts which necessitate at least some degree of organization.
With this tension in mind the DFG-financed interdisciplinary research unit “Organized Creativity” has formed to provide a better understanding of the conditions under which creativity can prosper within social organization. Empirically analyzing an arts-based as well as a science-based field – the musical and the pharmaceutical industry – enables the research units to add to the development of a multi-disciplinary theory of organized creativity. The research is based on the assumption that uncertainty is a central “ingredient” of creativity and that therefore creative processes are intertwined with (re)distributing and inducing of uncertainty.
The research group is divided into four projects, each with a different focus, research team and location. One of those subprojects “Governance of Creativity: Distributing Uncertainty in Collaboration Practices” is located at the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS), with Prof. Dr. Oliver Ibert as one of the principle investigators and Lukas Vogelgsang as a doctoral candidate. In cooperation with scientists from the FU-Berlin this project advances the research on creativity by scrutinizing the influence different modes of governance have on the type and degree of uncertainty during creative collaboration. By approaching creative collaboration through the lens of governance, the perspective switches beyond micro-interactions of collaborative individuals or groups, and toward how creative collaboration is created, maintained, structured and embedded within intra- and interorganizational settings of wider artistic or scientific fields.
The subproject at the IRS puts the focus on different modes of governance and the connected types of uncertainty in creative pharmaceutical work. The goal is to understand how a scientific yet constantly competitive, tense and high-risk industry can be creative, what role uncertainty plays for the development of creative pharmaceutical products and how different modes of governance help to either cope or even induce the ever present uncertainty and unpredictability in creative collaboration.


Ibert, O., Jackson, G., Theel, T., & Vogelgsang, L. (2021). Organizing Uncertainty as an Asset in Creative Collaboration: A Comparison of the Musical and Pharmaceutical Industries. Research on the Sociology of Organizations, (75), 115-136.