Because it is now accepted that innovation is a competitive imperative, Business Creativity is a subject with strong legs. It gets to play in thinking about resources, competencies, strategies, and environments — nearly all of the Big Management games.

But the real topic of the “business” discussion about creativity is usually this: “How Do I get Great New Ideas When I Need Them?”

The myth of management is “Do what worked before, and it will work again.” In that light, the ways to get ideas fall into only a few categories:

(a.) Find them;

(b.) Steal them;

(c.) Make them.

A more specific catalog of  “How To” efforts (find, steal, make) is necessary, but insufficient. Someone will invariably point at something and ask the question, “How do I know that is going to work?”

In reality, the answer is, “Well, you don’t.” And the reason why is that creativity is inherently unpredictable.

Almost any competent artist can tell us that “creativity” consists of (a.) labor, (b.) imagination, and (c.) inspiration, even though those three things don’t always occur in the same order or at the same time or degree. So creativity is also about being overtly opportunistic about all three.

This clarifies thinking a lot. Things that get in the way of laboring, imagining, and getting inspired are pretty much a lock to inhibit creativity. 

Said differently, “creativity” is not an event. It’s a condition that is fostered by a culture. A culture of low inhibition is simply more likely to host creativity.

Sometimes, the “condition” is one person’s free-associating mentality in the shower; sometimes it is a large operational unit ‘s new perspective – a groupwide view, acquired from research or hearsay, of a near future that it might know how to make…

Summarizing: “Business Creativity” is not about causing creativity. Instead; managing “business” creativity is fundamentally about managing how the business’s own ideas of risk are applied to an un-inhibiting culture.