Innovation and Creativity

Creativity is about formulating new original ideas, while innovation is about how those ideas are being incorporated to produce and introduce new, useful, and feasible products, services, processes, or business models by an organization.

Those two are related where the output depends on the input since "innovation is the implementation of creative ideas."

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Career

Innovation in Entrepreneurship and Startups

Innovation can be achieved by mature, large companies, not only by startups.

While most innovation comes from startup companies, some of the top innovative companies are mature and large (Apple was founded in 1976 and generates $228 billion. Google: 1998, $78 billion, Microsoft: 1975, $87 billion.) The myth acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy and deters large companies from attempting to innovate like startups.

Creativity can be learned and exercised.

It can be affected by your practices, how you expose yourself to old ideas, procrastinate to let them incubate, trigger the combination of those ideas into new ones, and relax to let it happen. Great ideas might feel accidental, but they are not.

Increasing innovation organically

Just as individuals can increase their creativity levels, so can companies:

  • Hire more creative people: people who have invested efforts in becoming more creative.
  • Create a climate that motivates those individuals (and teams) to be more creative.
  • Institute an effective mechanism of self-selection of creative ideas to implement them.

Driving innovation is not effective. You cannot mandate it. You cannot force employees to be creative, but you can let them know that trying things and failing is acceptable, as long as they learn from this process.

You can promote the behaviors that increase creativity, and discourage and eliminate the behaviors that discourage it.

You cannot control where and when ideas will happen. You can only create an environment in which employees and teams will become more creative, and processes for the organization to implement the best ideas.

But this environment needs to exist seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and in every office and meeting room.

Not only do financial incentives fail to increase creativity, but experiments also show that they actually reduce it.

Financial incentives have been proven to increase productivity in simple and repetitive tasks. They fall under the category of extrinsic motivation. However, complex tasks, especially the creation of new ideas, are motivated intrinsically, within the task itself.

Resources and funding for innovation

There is no evidence that the amount of money invested in innovation yields better creativity. In fact, it is better to innovate with limited resources because you are being effective and efficient at the same time.

You are able to utilize what's available and turn it into great ideas.

Innovation initiatives don't need to be implemented throughout the entire organization.

Autonomy and freedom from processes and bureaucracy belong in some areas of the company, but not all of them. Your creative teams, those responsible for developing new ideas, need to be free of bureaucracy and regulations that do not apply to them.

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The Originality Myth

There's a long-standing myth about intellectual property - the idea that a creative idea is proprietary to the person who thought of it.

But history and empirical research revealed that new ideas are actually combinations of older ideas and that sharing those helps generate more innovation.

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Brainstorming and creativity

This is a persistent myth, that the best way to come up with ideas together is to embark on a classic brainstorming session. But people need time to work alone first, and only then should the collaborative process begin.

Group brainstorming is an effective way to share and merge people’s ideas and solutions, but it’s the wrong way to come up with ideas in the first place, and it certainly shouldn’t be the end of the creative process.

A Balancing Act

Do not impose too many constraints, otherwise, employee motivation is hampered and creative ideas don't have breathing space.

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