Saturday, May 9, 2015

Creativity vs. Innovation

Creativity is the ability to create novel value, and innovation is how to transform ideas and achieve its business value.

Creativity is infused with an inner cohesion and comes from a vision of uniqueness. Creativity needs a problem, and a creative person needs a purpose; Innovation is to reinvent business, but not to reinvent the wheels. Innovation is about reinventing the business direction and purpose at any time. It defines strategy, profitability, and relevance at any given time. If you do not, you become commoditized and just like so many others who offer the same product or service. Innovation allows one to stand out and above the rest.

Creativity is the ability to solve (or attempt to) problems. Thus, it is a mental process which results in an action that tests a possible solution. Things either work or they do not. That action is creativity. Creativity has two parts: the spark of inspiration (1st thought) which plants a new concept in our heads, and then the building of a structure of associations and relationships between that "seed" concept, and the many concepts already stored in our heads. The associations and relationships are what turn the spark into an expressible idea, and if we are lucky a useful idea. The initial spark only comes after your brain has toiled with the problem. Your subconscious brain loves creating solutions to problems that plague your conscious brain. Anytime an idea "pops" into your head, you have your subconscious to thank. Very rarely can you power your way through a problem using purely conscious thoughts? Thin-slicing refers to the fraction of a second between when you're confronted with a problem and when your subconscious knows the answer. Sometimes your conscious knows as well, other times you just get a feeling something is right or wrong.

Innovation is to transform novel ideas to achieve its business value. It is very important to recognize that innovation is an essential factor for company success. “Out of the box” thinking is the base for innovation that was very well said by Albert Szent-Györgyi (Nobel Prize Laureate), “Research is to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought.” One of the problems is how to manage the different cultures needed to do both things well in a mature organization and getting innovation capability embedded as an organizational capability. One of the issues in a lot of organizations is that the "innovation" part is often separate and a lot smaller than "business as usual," and so the culture of the larger part (via its leadership) is the one that wins the day.

Most of the organizations need both: the "into the box" and "out of the box" thinking. Research shows that 70 to 80% of successful innovations are based on "into the box" thinking. Most of the organizations need both: out of the box and in the box/core innovation. Typically, the majority of projects comes from the latter. How to accomplish this balance is a crucial issue for organizations. Shaping a bigger box by making connections between different boxes; rather than thinking outside of one particular box. Look at what other people have in their boxes, find out how their ideas different from what's in your box, and then think about what new structures can be built in space not yet occupied by anyone's box.

Building a creativity enabling environment is the ability of an organization to establish the right set of teams or people, collaboration, and communication process that will eventually lead to innovation is the key.


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