What is creativity and innovation? Often times these two words are used interchangeably and treated as synonyms. What about ideas? An idea is the beginning of creativity and innovation. Therefore, it is crucial to understand these terms to better practice innovation in all aspects.
It usually begins with a thought or an idea. It may come from a new way of thinking or a new way of doing things. Without an idea there can never be anything creative or innovative. Ideas are the building blocks or the foundation of all creativity and innovation. Just like a seed when it is planted, a new idea can grow and mature into something beautiful while an old idea is like a dead seed, lifeless and unproductive.
Innovation is creativity being implemented
This is where the idea is put into practice. While creativity is a thinking process, innovation is the productive process. Innovation now adds value to the idea, which otherwise remains as a mere idea. Like a seed, innovation is like a growing plant that results from planting and nurturing the seed.
An inquiry which gets asked all the time is whether development ought to be a piece of everybody’s normal everyday employment, or is it better took care of by a focal group? I can guarantee you, it is an inquiry which will probably induce critical contention, and since it is an inquiry concerning whether the way of life of an association is creative or not.
Some argue that in a truly innovative organization, there is a culture of support that ensures new things happen by themselves. In such organizations, the argument goes, you don’t need a central innovation team at all, because individual employees are empowered and motivated to make the kinds of changes an organization needs to stay competitive.
To be honest with you, though, I have yet to see any organization that has a culture that actually does this. Conversely, there are lots of organizations which ask their staff to be innovative and then put in processes and systems to help them make their dreams come alive.
Organizations who indicate they want an “innovation culture” quite often fail to take steps to turn their ideas into reality though. They believe that, somehow, if only they get more creative and motivated employees, they would get innovation for “free”. This Harvard Business Review suggests that innovation is not creativity.
One must remember that people have day jobs to which you are asking them to add innovation as an extra. It is extremely likely that given the choice of innovation or making sure they do the work for which they are actually paid, they will choose the latter.
This is one of the main issues you find in organizations, in fact. Managers expect innovation, and encourage it via employee engagement events, or internal suggestion boxes, or other devices which fail to provide any framework whatsoever for the new ideas to go forwards. Then, everyone wonders why their innovation efforts are failures.
A potential solution is to establish a central innovation team responsible for making new ideas go forward. Such an approach may not be suitable for all organizations, of course, because there can be substantial investments to make such a team effective. But one thing is very certain: the costs of not innovating at all are likely to be far higher than any upfront investment in the first place.