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November 3, 2013

De-Myth-ifying Creativity

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.

But cutting to the chase, the real topic of this "business" discussion is "How Do I get Great New Ideas When I Need Them?"

The answers fall into only a few categories: (a.) Find them, (b.) Steal them, and (c.) Make them. Next we're talking about "How To" (find, steal, make). Then there is a catalog of the How To efforts, but it is exasperating because someone will invariably point at something and ask the question, "How do I know that is going to work?" and the answer is, "Well, you don't." Meanwhile the myth is "Well, it worked before, so it will work again."

Amazingly (well, actually, not at all amazingly) 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. 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. We didn't really need Harvard to figure this out or validate it.

As a convenient (if maybe too easy) summary, "creativity" is not an event. It's a condition that is fostered from a culture. A culture of low inhibition is simply more likely to host creativity.

"Business Creativity" is not about causing creativity, however; "business" creativity is about sophistication in business risk management applied to uninhibited culture. Sometimes, the culture is one person's mentality in the shower; sometimes it is a large operational unit acquiring, from research or hearsay, a new in-common view of a near future that it might know how to make... Either way, the best way for business to understand how to use creativity is to understand its own ideas of risk.

Posted by Malcolm Ryder at November 3, 2013 1:24 PM