Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters ? Incremental Productivity

When attempting to understand Creativity and Innovation, it pays to import the vast range of research and knowledge that has been accumulated in these fields ? most of it is to be found in the field of Business and Management.

For example, Writer's Block is intimately related to Organizational Culture ? the same principles that prevent people from generating ideas in the corporate workplace are also responsible for Writer's Block - evaluation apprehension in its many forms. Another example, the principles that prevent screenwriters from getting their work successful commercialised are the same as those that prevent organisation's successfully implementing innovation ? lack of access to decision makers and so on.

Consequently, the following is one area of Creativity and Innovation Management that can assist screenwriters.

Incremental Productivity

Whilst radical innovation is glamorised, the true hero is incremental innovation. In other words: sustained, smaller changes. Whilst a few radical innovations are the result of giant leaps, the vast majority result from incremental changes applied over long periods. This principle can be applied in a number of ways:

a) Rather than wait for the "big idea," the chances of hitting on the "big idea" increase when writers engage in not so dynamic projects, develop their competencies, identify and solve problems in a regular and sustained way. We know this to be true because screenwriters tend to come up with their best ideas WHILST they are working on a project.

b) Artists often tinker with various concepts for long periods resulting in work that grows in distance, novelty and diversity from the original idea. That is until new knowledge causes the artist to leap onto a new concept, which is radically different from the original idea and grows further away in terms of distance, diversity and novelty ? it increases in radical nature. In other words, radical leaps are a product of incremental activity.

c) We often use the term "think outside of the box." But what does it actually mean? Some of the most successful ideas have resulted from small changes that were originally just outside of the box. Take the low cost airline model of South West Airlines and EasyJet ? the only difference between the standard and their models is essentially price. They took the small notion of price and pushed it outside the box where it seemed impossible ? London to Spain for $30 was thinking outside the box at one time. Again, radical ideas result from small changes.

d) In the field of drama and improvisation, actors have found that the best ideas result from not trying to be original but being UNORIGINAL.

These are other topics are covered in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity and Innovation and the various Story Structure Templates and other products available at

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Kal Bishop, MBA


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Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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