"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


[continued from the Last Post.]

In the last post, I have concluded in the interim that 'creativity' is the process of generating something new.

In contrast, 'innovation' is the practical application of 'creativity' into something that has an impact, at least from the organisational or business standpoint.

So, it's about real-world action more than simply great ideas.

In reality, there actually lies the big difference:

It's the harvesting, sorting out, finding out the right idea & bringing it to life that defines 'innovation'.

Out of the many, many creative ideas, only a few or may even be only one of them, will eventually be chosen & then implemented.

For those precious few that are, we now know of them as 'innovation', or simply 'applied creativity'.

[Interestingly, according to Tom Peters, writing in the Foreword of the book, 'Innovation : Breakthrough Thinking at 3M, DuPont, GE, Pfizer, & Rubbermaid', by John Kao, & drawing on the 3M experience, 250 creative ideas = 1 $ making innovation.]

Creativity guru Edward de bono has a different perspective about creativity. This is where he always shines best, especially with his almost original & sometimes contrarian views about creativity.

He thinks that the word 'creativity' in English is too broad to be of practical use, as it ranges from creating a mess to painting a masterpiece.

He argues that its emphasis is on bringing forth something new, & yet, at the same time, repetition does not qualify.

To him, the word 'creativity' describes a result, not a process.

Also, he argues further, the element of change is not sufficiently covered, & there is also the problem that for some people 'creativity' means difference for the sake of difference, with no other value.

That's why there is an urgent need for 'lateral thinking', which he has coined appropriately, & for which he defends that it relates more to the way our brains form asymmetric patterns.

Interesting perspective, no doubt.

With regard to 'innovation', I like the perspective from the Innovation Network, founded by Joyce Wycoff, as follows:

Innovation is "people implementing new ideas to create value.'

Here are some of their valuable thoughts:

- only people innovate; systems, tools, tactics & techniques may support the process, but only people can produce the magic that's innovation;

- innovation is about taking something new into the real world;

- all innovations spring from new ideas;

- innovation must create new value for customers (internally as well as externally) & the organisation;

- innovation requires people using new knowledge & understanding to experiment with new processes in order to implement new concepts that create new value;

In a way, I am very inclined to think that 'creativity' is seemingly an individual or even solitary endeavour.

That's to say, the creative & imaginative sparks come from individual minds, whereas 'innovation' is more of an organisational or team effort to make the resultant outputs into a physical reality.

So, 'innovation' cannot follow without a chosen creative & imaginative spark first.

'Innovation' is therefore the aggregate sum of all the creative & imaginative sparks, & the work done in an organised team effort to give it realisation & tangibility.

'Creativity' is the spark plug that sets the ball rolling in motion.

Staying in focus & sustaining a bias for action with persistence & perseverance keep the ball rolling continuously in motion, & the end result with value realisation to the organisation is 'innovation'.

When used as a verb, 'innovation' entails both the ability to create & communicate great ideas, & the willingness to work together as a team towards bringing the vision to life.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

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