Creativity and Innovation Can Be Learned

November 8, 2011 · Posted in innovation ·  

I make a distinction between creativity and innovation. I define innovation as “Profitably satisfying unmet desires.” Profitable doesn’t just mean money, it means better satisfying the desires of everyone involved. A new device or way of doing something won’t be accepted unless it makes things better for everyone who is needed to make it happen.

Creativity is newness without the need to satisfy a desire other than the maker. There is lots of creative stuff that is just horrible and no one likes it. This is why there is an expression “Starving artist”. There is a distinction between creating for no real purpose and creating to improve something. Another part of innovation is until you put the idea into use innovation has not occurred. You must actually do something to achieve innovation, not just have an idea.

The similarity between Creativity and Innovation is information. Both innovation and creativity start with an idea, information. The foundation of information is comparison. Two things are similar or different. Computers store and process information using a very simple comparison, same or different. All information can be encoded using that binary process.

The human mind doesn’t do this in a linear process, it makes hundreds or perhaps millions of comparisons at the same time. So what seems to be an idea “coming into your mind” is noticing a similarity or difference. You recognize some connection then put those things together and that is what we call creativity.

As is often the case, when you ask someone who is very talented how they do something, they can’t describe it. Often it takes someone else watching and recording each little step then asking “Why did you do that?” to figure out the process the talented person instinctively follows.

As an example how do you walk? You learned how to walk before you learned how to talk so you probably never thought about how to describe the process. How do you control the dozens of muscles to respond to your body shifting and falling forward then catching yourself and pushing off again? That natural “instinctive” behavior is something you learned how to do. And interestingly you can intentionally learn how to do it better.

The exact same thing applies to thinking and “creativity”. Everyone has some basic skill they acquired at an early age. You can develop and improve that skill through focused learning.

Predictive Innovation® teaches you the skills to be think so you are more creative and innovative.