Balancing Coordination and Freedom: Learning from Perfumery as a Creative Industry

How to organize a scent design process? How to work with perfumers? How to coordinate different creative disciplines? And at the same time, how to allow for the creative freedom that makes innovation possible? These are some of the questions the research team at Bern University of the Arts and the Business Department of Bern University of Applied Sciences has been dealing with since they first entered the world of perfumery. In this context, they carefully analyzed the role and function of moodboards that go beyond conveying ideas and winning pitches. Some of the results have just been published in a special issue of the Journal of Business Research. In fact, this special issue looks at creative industries as hubs of new organizational and business practices. In the initial call the editors, Joseph Lampel and Oliver Germain expressed their interest in “emerging management practices with a rallying cry for more diffusion to the whole of traditional industries“. It is this ambition that makes this contribution interesting. The field of scent design and perfumery is positioned in the domain of pioneering creative industries – next to design, multimedia, cinema, art entertainment, design, advertising, art, etc. Moreover, the paper discusses the potential of mood boards as an example of the wider phenomenon of aesthetic objects, connecting senses and emotion and providing a link across people in the creative industries and elsewhere.

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