The origins of organisational barriers to creativity and innovation have long been a subject of research in organisational studies. I argue here that organisations struggle to perform creative and innovative tasks because of unintended consequences of organisational systems introduced to deal with information, which over time increases in complexity and uncertainty. The problem is that the goal for organisations in respect of innovation is simultaneously to encourage creativity while at the same time integrating that creativity into the organisation’s operations. I argue that this dual challenge places contradictory tensions and demands upon organisations, which increase with complexity and uncertainty. The range of organisational procedures and approaches to “manage” creativity and the fl ood of management fads to “foster creativity” can be understood as a response to these contradictions.