Motivation and Goals

In today’s working world,  human creativity is increasingly developing into an important key competence. Especially in the course of digitization  and globalization, creativity makes a significant contribution to the long-term success of organizations. Creativity, as a preliminary stage of innovation, helps organizations to adapt flexibly to change and to proactively initiate change. The project CREATE-ET  is located exactly at the interface between digitization  and globalization. Digitization (and thus increasingly automation) means that human creativity (which cannot be automated) will become increasingly important for the future working world , especially with regard to the innovative capacity of societies. Creativity in modern organizations of business, research and education is mostly carried out in teams. Globalization means that these teams are increasingly multicultural (especially multinational and multilingual): A growing  number of people increasingly communicate in their everyday working life in a language that was originally foreign to them, often English.

Against this background, the research project CREATE-ET aims to find answers to the following question:

How does a foreign language (specifically an English-language) context influence creativity in teams?


Benefits of the project

This central question is not only relevant for individual employees, researchers, students and organizations. Creativity is a key driver of the innovative capacity of companies, research institutions and entire national economies and plays a key role in the prosperity and future viability of society. In a digitized working world, creativity is likely to be a central and promising resource of human labor even more than before. At the same time, creativity is  increasingly taking place in teams that communicate in English, a language that is not native to all team members. . If, however, the creative performance of individuals and teams is influenced by the (foreign) language context, it is crucial for employees, companies, research organizations, educational institutions and politicians in non-English-speaking countries to be able to assess the impact, exploit opportunities and address possible challenges through appropriate measures. The research project is thus of substantial relevance in terms of economy, education, culture and policy-making. The planned study requires recourse to interdisciplinary scientific findings from economics, psychology, linguistics and the educational sciences.


The research project „CREATE-ET“ is funded within the framework of the Innovation and Technology Analysis (ITA) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) over a period of two  years. The implementation of the project will be carried out and accompanied by a team of researchers  from Trier University r and ESCP Europe Berlin.

Team creativity in a foreign-language context will be investigated in detail by means of an experimental study. Participants will be randomly assigned to groups. The teams will then work together on creative tasks as well as  conduct creative negotiations. Whether these tasks will be carried out in German or English will be decided at random. In addition, the participants are asked to answer a questionnaire both before and after the experiment.

Since the beginning of the project, the research teams has focused on the development of a suitable measure for the operationalization of team creativity. Numerous expert interviews have been conducted in Berlin and Trier.  With these interviews, we received valuable feedback and insight about our creativity measures and were able to validate the tasks as appropriate measures of team creativity. 

We conducted a pilot study in the past summer 2019. The aim of this pilot was to  put our research design to the test. Our goal was to identify areas of improvement for our main experiment, which started in September 2019.  . After the main study is completed, further experiments are planned to validate the study. The aim is to ensure the validity and stability of the results through these validation experiments.

The evaluation of the collected data is carried out by means of statistical analysis. Based on the results of the empirical investigation and the existing research findings, recommendations for practical action will be derived. The aim is to disseminate the findings of the study both in scientific and non-scientific channels in order to make the results accessible to all interested parties and thus ensure a benefit for society as a whole.

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