Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.
However, all too often the concept of innovation is intricately linked with radical change. In fact, the opposite is true:
a) Most successful innovations take advantage of existing technology, are moderately new to market (not radically new), support existing behaviours, support customer needs and save money.
b) Radical innovation is the result of incremental change. Small changes can have radical effects and when considered over time, cause radical shifts. An example of this is looking at an old photo – very minute changes make big differences over long periods. An examination of any artists work will show incremental changes for periods before new knowledge or other inputs lead to radical shifts, which are then experimented with incrementally for periods.
c) Radical innovations are actually the result of invisible periods of incremental change and previous periods of radical change. The Internet resulted from the connectivity of the PC, which developed out of the mainframe, which owes its existence to the solid state transistor, which evolved from the earliest cathode ray tubes and so forth.
These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com.
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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