In most of the global business writing today about innovation, “Creativity” gives “Agility” a neck-and-neck run for the money.
Almost no one tries to explain innovation without reference to creativity. But the definition of “creativity” — something everyone needs and wants — is often left unexamined, even as people presume it can be managed for “innovation”.
Creativity is intentional discovery, as distinguished from accidental discovery. It can be recognized when it’s there, and it can be cultivated so as to become a practice “in effect”.
A quick glossary of Creativity from an Innovation point of view:
- The value of creativity is discovery.
- The effect of creativity is invention.
- The operation of creativity is experimentation.
- The subject of creativity is structure.
- The skill of creativity is composition.
Given those terms, there are still certain limitations on what creativity provides to innovation.
- an invention may be new to its maker without being new to the world. It is possible that the same thing can get invented at multiple places or times, completely independently of each other.
- a discovery is not necessarily of a “new” thing. Things that have already been discovered may get independently discovered again through different means and/or by different parties, therefore also possibly at different places or times.
As a result, innovation is not based on the uniqueness of creativity. This may at first seem to make “management” more difficult, in terms of control. But the more important aspect is in terms of development — noting that multiple wide ranging sources of creativity can be called upon to support a more singular innovative concept or outcome.