Faculty of Management Research Workshop; Noah Askin, INSEAD

by Faculty Events


Thu, 14 Mar 2019

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

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Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row

106 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TZ, UK

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Creativity is central to cultural production, but what conditions makes certain producers more likely to innovate than others? To answer this question, we leverage original data on over 25,000 musical artists and 600,000 songs recorded and released between 1955 and 2000, using fine-grained musical features to construct a continuous measure of creative output (i.e., song novelty). We then test whether musicians draw creative inspiration through (1) the recombination of diverse ideas, or are instead (2) stimulated by the creativity of their musical neighbors. We find that both of these mechanisms explain an artist’s propensity to write and release novel songs, but in systematically different ways: creative artists tend to recombine material from diverse genres that they encounter through their collaboration networks, while they draw inspiration from—and are granted legitimacy by—other creative artists with shared genre, record label, and/or geographic affiliations. This pattern holds even after controlling for an individual’s historical propensity to produce novel songs. These findings suggest that the likelihood of generating new ideas is influenced not only by direct interaction and collaboration with others, but also through indirect exposure via shared cultural, organizational, and geographic contexts. Understanding when and how creative potential travels across these “spheres of influence” sheds new light on the production of novelty in music and the social foundations of creativity more generally
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Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row

106 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TZ, UK


Noah Askin

Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour


Noah Askin is an Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD. Noah is interested in social and cultural networks, the antecedents and consequences of creativity and innovation, the production and consumption of culture, and the dynamics of organisational and individual status. His current research is divided among these interests in two streams. The first is around the creation and performance of cultural products: music chart and industry dynamics, what factors contribute to creativity, the tradeoffs associated with being innovative, the implications of the shift to digital distribution, and the analysis of culture using big data. The second area of research is around the role and impact of network- and rankings-based status on organisations. His work, which has garnered him recognition on the Thinkers 50 Radar list, has appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, American Sociological Review, and computational social science publications, and it has been covered in The Economist, Forbes, Business Insider, Quartz.com, The Times of London, and music industry blogs. Prior to becoming a business school academic, Noah had a number of roles in the business and not-for-profit sectors. He was a management consultant for the Monitor Group, working in its strategy practice and its Executive Development group. This was followed by several years as an early member of a start-up in the educational services space. Noah received a joint PhD from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and its Sociology department. He also has an MA in Sociology from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Booth, as well as an AB in Psychology from Harvard University.”