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March 2, 2014

The Accidental versus the Intentional: Creativity as Discovery

If we could "tag cloud" global business writing today, chances are that "innovation" would be a Top Three tag. And if we could tag cloud all the things about "Innovation", chances are that "Creativity" would give "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 --  wears the persona of a debate.

So, this either adds fuel to the fire, or it douses some of the flames.

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.

In those terms, Creativity is intentional discovery, as distinguished from accidental discovery.

This will not make sense unless two other things are openly acknowledged:

- 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 discovered again through different means and/or by different parties, therefore also possibly at different places or times, independently.

And the point is that "Creativity" is sometimes a purpose or property of Activity.  In the terms above, it can be recognized when it's there, and it can be cultivated so as to become "in effect".

Posted by Malcolm Ryder at March 2, 2014 2:07 PM