In the great playground of business, innovation and creativity are the cool kids on the block.
The 2024 Global Innovation Index has been like a high school yearbook, pointing out the ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ among economies (hint: Switzerland is still the valedictorian). Meanwhile, Sweden is the rising star climbing the charts faster than a pop song in summer, and Singapore? They’re the new cool kid in the top five, throwing some serious shade in the innovation game.
Science and Technology hubs are popping up like coffee shops, with China opening new ones faster than you can say ‘double espresso’. And while we’re sipping on our lattes, marveling at these hubs of genius, we're reminded to ponder: Are we making sure this innovation party isn't just VIP? The Global Innovation Tracker is like that one friend who keeps it real, nudging us to make sure everyone gets an invite to the dance floor of progress.
So, let’s dive into the world of innovation and creativity. They’re not just business buzzwords; they’re helping businesses up-skill to the challenges of 2024!
Innovation and creativity are two of the most critical business skills.
But what's the difference between the two?
And which one is more important?
I'm sure you've come across people who ooze creativity at work or in life. You know, those types of people that seem to be able to create great ideas when everyone else is flat-footed. Or the ability to ask one question that changes everyone's perspective of a problem.
Innovative people are harder to spot. They're more likely to share a new emerging trend they've discovered and be the first to see how it can be capitalised on.
Innovative people can also be great at spotting an underserved market opportunity and back it up by showing some actual data that proves there's a real problem worth solving. They're also the ones that will insist on validating that the market wants to pay for a solution before paying for it. In short, they exude commercial savviness.
I like to think of innovation and creativity as being Yin and Yang. None are superior to the other. Instead, the perfect mix is when you have both skills combined.
Creativity is the ability to see things in new ways and develop new ideas. A creative thinker may help to solve problems faster and create ideas for new profitable solutions. But may struggle with successful outcomes unless they utilise innovative approaches to validate the problem, market and solution.
Conversely, an innovative thinker may be great at identifying a potential market opportunity but need help to create a compelling solution that grabs the market's attention. Their new product may be the first to capture the market opportunity but may be superseded by a competitor's more compelling solution later. Having creative thinking skills would enable them to create that compelling solution. Innovation is taking a new idea or concept and turning it into a commercial reality.
Both innovation and creativity are essential for businesses to thrive.
Without creativity, businesses would never come up with compelling ideas for new products or services.
And without innovation, those product and service ideas would never make it to market.
So, by now you should be able to see that the best course of action is not either. It's both. Look at the most successful innovators. You will find they possess creative skills and vice versa for creative thinkers.
To help you get clarity around the key differences, here are the three main strengths that innovators and creatives have.
Leaders with innovation skills have the primary skills of being able to 1. Spot market opportunities 2. Validate the problem, market willingness and solutions effectiveness, and 3. Generate and commercialise an idea
Leaders with creativity skills have the primary skills of being able to 1. Create and find alternative uses 2. Abstract their thinking to solve problems, and 3. Ask better questions and turn frustrations into questions
Here's a breakdown of the innovation skills you should look for to accelerate your results.
1. Ability to spot market opportunities
3. Generate and commercialise an idea
Here's a breakdown of the creativity skills you should look for to accelerate your results.
1. Alternative uses
Sets a time each day to brainstorm ideas
2. Abstraction and abduction
3. Ability to ask better questions and turns frustrations into questions
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