Thursday, September 28, 2017

Three “C”s in Innovators

Innovators are the critical bridge to connect today and future, to push the human progress from one generation to the next generation.

Creativity has many forms and manifestations. Creatives have many traits and strengths. There are many unique ingredients to make “creativity formula.” There is a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic elements to ignite creativity. Here are three “C” elements in innovators.

Cognition: Cognitive difference nurtures creativity. Cognition is a faculty for processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition, or cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious. These processes are analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts. Individually, people with cognitive understanding can assimilate all relevant information, and transform them into the unique insight which ignites creativity or fuels innovation. Collectively, a highly innovative team setting is often composed of people with cognitive differences: There are people who can generate lots of original ideas, and it's equally important to have people who can evaluate and implement these ideas! The cognitive difference can help to ask good questions which spark creativity and encourage innovative thinking. Innovators have the capability to reframe the circumstances or conditions around a problem and solve it creatively. Creative people are typically disrespectful of the status quo, and their creativity is really their way of breaking out, or of reframing how we see the world. So, it's important to build a culture where creativity is not just accepted but encouraged, the team with cognitive differences will have the better capability and complementary skills to create more fresh ideas or solve problems in an unconventional way.

Connectivity: Creativity is all about connecting the dots. It’s the innate thinking process to connect dots. A connecting mind that is free from the psychological inertia. Perhaps an essential feature of the creative brain is its degree of connectivity, both inter-hemispheric and intra-hemispheric. The right hemisphere is the source of creativity, and it also has very far-flung connections throughout the whole brain. And the innovative aha arises when original connections are made. Creativity starts with the biological basis of creativity (nature); then the development of those characteristics during maturation (nurture); then the biological and social support of those traits (nutrition). The mind needs to be freed so that it’s connected to the rest of the universe and allows ideas to flow through.  Being creative is the mind with the thinking process that holds onto its nature connectivity while being prepared to connect the dots even in the opposite direction should they make sense. Creativity needs the vision to inspire and imagination to spark. Creativity is a creative mix of action artifacts and biological or personality characteristics. Often connectivity triggers creativity and creative mind has a better ability to connect dots.
Coherence: The ability to maintain focus and clarity, even under extreme pressure, is what science calls coherence. Many times, creativity sparks in solitude. A focused mind has a better ability to work on creative activities. Because people with creative coherence can use their whole brain, to synchronize multiple thought processes, analysis, and synthesis, divergent and convergent thinking, logic and intuition, conscious and subconscious thinking, assemble coherence from seemly unrelated phenomena, and come out with fresh ideas or create the “Aha Moment.” Each stage of collective progress represents the increased complexity and require new awareness, new intelligence, and new thinking skills. Thus, creative people often present intellectual coherence than the majority of people. Creativity or innovation shouldn’t be just serendipity, structural creativity is about how to “translate” creativity in a structural way, not through linear processes, but with integral, interactive and iterative thinking activities to develop novel ideas, and then move forward, leverage innovation process to achieve their business value.
Being innovative is a state of mind. Creative people have the curiosity to see things differently, they have the vision to inspire creativity and they are great problem solvers for both framing the right problems and solving them creatively. They are the critical bridge to connect today and future, to push the human progress from one generation to the next generation.


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