The Curious case of Innovation:
Everyone will agree when I say, one has to be innovative in order to survive in the modern workplace, let alone thrive in it. But what is innovation? Very few people can actually define what innovation is and that is the reason most people are not innovative. To achieve something, we have to have an action plan and to develop an action plan we need to have required knowledge about it. To collect that essential knowledge about it, we need to have some clarity about that subject. Defining a subject in a single line in 12 to 15 words can be the measure of clarity. So it is evident why people are not able to be innovative, as they can’t develop an action plan, as they have little knowledge about the subject of innovation, as they can’t define it properly. Again definitions are very subjective. I am not claiming this definition of innovation is alone the TRUTH and rest all are false. My point is if you can define enough to collect knowledge about it, then it is a good definition.
So what is my definition of Innovation? Innovation’s best definition comes from the most innovative person of all “Thomas Alva Edison”. He said “Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. So that 1% inspiration is the idea part. That is called idea generation, and it should not be addressed as creativity. Creativity is different from generating Ideas. Innovation is the part or the art of commercializing the idea that is being generated. Now in this context, I request you to answer the heading of this post and reflect.
Role of definitions and understanding:
Why is it key to focus on understanding something to define it? It is essential because it differentiates certain things which are similar. We take those similar things as same things, if we fail to understand enough to define it. As a human resource trainer I was confused for years to what creativity is and what is innovation? If you still think coming up with great ideas is creativity, I am sorry to say no it isn’t. I travelled quite a bit with this question and what I understood is many people consider creativity and innovation are same, and they had no clue what creativity is. It is imperative in this context to understand the concepts of creativity and innovation and then we can define it and try to create an action plan to develop those. Creativity and innovation are two different things and they need two different skill sets. Identifying the necessary skill set is the ultimate goodness that defining any concepts bring. So let me try and define Creativity and innovation
It is the ability to create something. It may be a process, a product, a system, a service or a brand. The idea generation is just a part of creativity and it does not take all the components of creativity. By having the understanding that just idea generation is creativity, we might miss out on other skill sets to be creative.
Now as we have created something, now we have a choice. If we should monetize it or not? If we choose to monetize it then the process on innovation starts. This requires as you can see a total different skill set. The process of innovation in a company or to an individual provides boost to creativity as the creative thing becomes useful in some way.
So with this frame work I design my training programs and spread my frame work with others. If you have any other view on creativity and innovation, do share in comments and I am open for a conversation.