Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2007 (Revised May 2008)

Creativity under the Gun at Litmus Corporation

by Teresa M. Amabile and Yana Litovsky


Teaches students to diagnose the circumstances under which time pressure can facilitate or hinder creativity. A team's creative "genius", Miles Grady, who previously conceptualized a revolutionary material for an important new product, must now significantly change that material so that the team can create an entirely new business. This early new business development project, while supported by management, has a looming deadline for proof-of-concept. The deadline has already been extended, but the team does not seem close to the breakthrough it needs. The team's leader, Stanley Carmine, who has managed to get a few weeks' extension from management, needs to figure out how best to manage Grady under the looming deadline. He studies Grady's past "daily laboratory logs" to discover the connections, if any, between time pressure, other circumstances, and Grady's level of creativity.

Keywords: Situation or Environment; Creativity; Innovation and Management; Problems and Challenges;


Amabile, Teresa M., and Yana Litovsky. "Creativity under the Gun at Litmus Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 808-075, November 2007. (Revised May 2008.)