Creativity & Innovation

Creativity is the ability to think and act in ways that are new and novel or act of conceiving something original or unusual.  It is the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. Three important levels of creativity are:

  • Discovery is the lower level of creativity and it is observing or finding something unknown. You discover something when you become aware of or stumble upon it. Discovery could well be a stunning breakthrough as a group of astronomers announced that they have found radio signals that appear to provide evidence of the first stars to come into existence. You could discover a rock with a unique shape or a piece of wood with an interesting pattern.
  • Invention is a higher level of creativity and it is creating something that did not exist before, such as Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. So while invention is higher than discovery, it’s something that is going to happen. If you don’t invent it, someone else will.
  • Creation is the highest level of creativity and it is something that is created, such as the World, the Creatures, an original work of Art, or a new usually striking article of Clothing. Shakespeare’s Othello is genuinely a creation.

Innovation is thinking creatively about something that already exists such as, Walkman is an innovation on the phonograph. Innovation is applied Creativity, as the Innovation refers to the application of an idea and, in many cases, is a collaborative enterprise; whereas the Creativity refers to generating new and novel ideas.

Creativity is as such a function of knowledge, curiosity, imagination, and evaluation. The greater your knowledge base and level of curiosity, the more ideas, patterns, and combinations you can achieve, which then correlates to creating new and innovative products and services.

Creative ideas and Innovative approaches can come from almost anywhere.  Fresh perspectives and ideas can be floated by colleagues, employees, customers and the target groups, when you are listening to them and are open to their feedback. Say, for example, deliberations are going on in a conference, where you discover a tool, a technology, or a process that you did not know before and that discovery helps your organisation work well. After some time, that discovery may also spur an innovative idea of how to apply the discovery. Such innovative idea may then be used as an inspiration that yields something never seen before, something created by your organisation that helps you and your customers. That’s how the three levels of creativity can work together.

Creative and Innovative organisations do better over the long haul  as these organisations do not copy what others do; instead, they may use innovative ideas from others as a spring board to come up with a unique application, product, or service for themselves. They tend to distance themselves from the competition rather than compete with them. They create something new and better. They are as such able to leverage their creativity and their innovative capabilities to attain long-term success.

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