Terrorism provides a unique context for examining innovation, as the generation of novel, effective, and complex ideas are essential for survival in destructive and malevolent groups. Despite this, innovation remains an underdeveloped concept in terrorism research, at least from the creativity scholars. One reason for this is the limited empirical data about this phenomenon, making it unclear which tenets of creativity research hold versus which do not translate in the domain of terrorism. This two-part study explores this rich domain by examining the dimensions of innovation in a robust sample of terrorist attacks. Findings indicated that three dimensions of innovation (i.e., novelty, relevance, and elegance) emerged from the attack data and that these dimensions were related to different attack characteristics. This article expands our understanding of terrorist innovation by drawing from established theory and methods from creativity research and highlights their manifestations in this understudied domain.
- malevolent creativity
- tactical innovation
- violent extremism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Developmental and Educational Psychology