It’s a long debated topic about the relationship between innovation and creativity, one that John Mariotti revisits in a recent blog post.
Looking back to the 60s article by Levitt in the Harvard Business Review, “Creativity is not enough”, he highlights Levitt’s reference to brainstorming producing ideas but this in itself having limited application.
Mariotti describes some examples of product and process innovation, but perhaps more interestingly goes on to distinguish between the idea and the exploitation, commercialisation, or application of it. His description of creativity as the beginning of innovation fits well with another Harvard scholar, Teresa Amabile, who has written widely on workplace creativity and defined innovation as the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organisation. In fact Isaksen and Dorval took this further in exploring aspects of creativity and how they related to style, identifying both innovatively creative people but also low creative innovators.
So is innovation possible without creativity? That’s a question for more discussion another time…
I’ll leave with you some video thoughts from the “guru” of creativity, Edward de Bono, who describes innovation as an idea implemented in your organisation that is new to the organisation, but might already be used elsewhere. He goes on to discuss where ideas comes from. You may or may not agree with his thoughts on how customers influence ideas!