Creativity & Innovation section of CollabMaker Resource Hub

Creativity and Innovation: Developing an innovative mindset

There is little that shapes the human experience as profoundly as creativity. Creativity is the mark of individuality, the vehicle of self-expression, and the engine of progress in every human venture, from the arts to the sciences, business, and technology. Below, we´ll give you some tips on different techniques on developing an innovative mindset.

What is creativity?

Perhaps the most fundamental question is, what is creativity? The term ‘creative’ is used to describe three kinds of things: a person, a process or activity, or a product, whether it is an idea in someone’s mind or an observable performance.

There is an emerging consensus that an idea must meet two conditions to be considered creative. It must be new, but since novelty can be worthless, as in meaningless, it must also be of value. Researchers sometimes express this second condition by saying it should be ´useful´, ´appropriate´, or ´effective´. This definition is anticipated, in a way, by Immanuel Kant, who viewed artistic genius as an ability to produce works that are not only original — ´since there can be original nonsense — but also ´exemplary´’.

‘Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way’.

Edward de Bono

Creativity can appear in many forms and many functions within firms of all kinds, from entrepreneurial start-ups to well-established enterprises.  

To be creative is to understand what limitations we are conforming to and then breaking free of them. It is allowing ourselves to do and experience things or at least consider them in unfamiliar ways; to be able to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions that for us are now essential within the entrepreneurship landscape.  

In business terms, creativity is what is known as ‘thinking outside the box’. Using imagination, an entrepreneur can put aside the practical norms and think of something creative and innovative.

According to Mikael Eriksson Björling, Senior Lead Designer at the Ericsson UX Lab, while creativity is the mental process of generating ideas and concepts, innovation is the exploration of new ideas. But innovation is not just about ideas, it’s about making those ideas happen. Therefore, innovation is the change that unlocks new value, and since it ‘unlocks’ the value one couldn’t reach via traditional approaches, innovation is a huge source of competitive advantage. 

If innovation is about developing something new that impacts the market and creates value for users – what is then required to make that happen?

At this point, most businesses are aware that it is imperative to their survival to actively pursue innovation and cultivating an innovation mindset within their organization. Nevertheless, cultivating an innovative mindset begins from the inside out and it happens over time. So, how do we create an innovative mindset?

Developing an innovative mindset

1. Conquer Fear

´Do one thing every day that scares you´. – Eleanor Roosevelt

To innovate, change is required and exploring new scenarios could be challenging. By not testing these new approaches, one could miss out on finding more efficient and innovative ways to pursue the realisation of our initial ideas. Try the road less taken and you may be surprised where it might lead you.

2. Embrace Creativity

´The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance — it is the illusion of knowledge´. – Daniel J. Boorstin

An approach to design thinking method can encourage innovation by exploring several solutions to the same problem. It gives the opportunity to view a problem from a different perspective and enables creativity by focusing on the right solution.

3. Think Big

´Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen´. – John Steinbeck

Innovation is about stretching one’s thoughts out of everyday ordinary thinking and analysis. It requires agility, and you can’t allow yourself to become complacent. You need to think big to innovate, but you can’t afford to ignore the details. Don’t get comfortable with the first idea. Grow your idea, transform it and work towards your best idea, not the first one that excites you. 

4. Prepare to get messy

´Mistakes are the portals of discovery´. – James Joyce

Creativity and innovation don’t always thrive in a structured world; they are often born of chaos. Get comfortable with not having all the answers and don’t limit yourself. Drop preconceptions of what’s possible. 

Capture new ideas. Write them down, brainstorm and share your ideas with others. Be open to insight.

5. Evaluate your ideas

´The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones´.–  John Maynard Keynes

How to evaluate an idea

Princeton Creative Research has laid out a checklist for entrepreneurs to evaluate an idea. 

Some checkpoints are given below:

  • Do you think your idea responds to some realistic needs and is beneficial towards them?
  • Can you pinpoint the issue your idea resolves?
  • What will be the expected short-term and long-term results and gains of implementation?
  • Do you know any limitations of the idea? Are there any risk factors involved?
  • Is the implementation simple or complicated?
  • Do you think the market can accept your idea? Do you know who your potential customer would be?
  • Is there a need for your product or service? Alternatively, will it have to be created by marketing and promotion?

These evaluation marks can help supply detailed knowledge of the idea’s viability, providing another tool to check the idea along with critical thinking.

The more creative and innovative you are, the more long-term success you’ll achieve. So rather than constantly chase ´the next big idea´, bring creativity and innovation to what you’re currently doing. 


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