What is Creativity and Innovation – Challenges for Corporates and Entrepreneurs

I am sure my readers will agree that most corporate, particularly multinational companies try to implement ideas that worked in one culture or environment. I sometime wonder how these corporate can encourage their executives to act
creatively in their respective societies and work environment.

Creativity is not a new topic. It has been discussed widely in all major business journals. Researchers have written heaps of stuff on creativity.

Having spoken to several senior executives, I have come to a conclusion that creativity in the developing and under developed countries is less challenging as compared to developed countries. Reason is simple, due to lack to technological advancement, there are more opportunities in the developing or under developed countries for experimenting with creative ideas whereas creative ideas in the developed world face fierce competition!

Following is a statement by Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business, is
the author of Serious Play and the forthcoming Getting Beyond Ideas. Scharge says:

“This point is vital: genuine creativity isn’t about ideas. It’s about translating ideas into ingenious products, services and solutions. Ideas are the seeds, not the substance, of creativity. Getting them to take root is easier than it’s ever
been.”

I also recall Richard Branson’s views on creativity, in his book Business Stripped Bare; he said “Creativity is not about creating something new, it’s about giving a new experience.”

These two views are extremely thought provoking! In my view, the gist is look beyond ideas. Perhaps, the way these ideas are converted into a business or a process and implemented to make money is needs bigger focus!

Most interestingly, there are only few corporate that encourage creativity. Staff is mostly stuffed with SOPs and concepts, career paths are defined at the early stage of employment. Is this environment conducive for creativity?

Schrage further says;

“My view is that creativity — like any meaningful exchange of value — is not declared but negotiated. The most important innovation conversations have evolved and revolve around what kinds of people, approaches and solutions are creative. The essential difference between those conversations today and even a decade ago is that we have more ways, more tools and technologies to express ourselves both as individuals and as collaborative teams. So do our customers and clients.”

I compiled two checklists one Anti Creativity and the other one a Pro Creativity. Hope readers will find these interesting!

Anti Creativity Checklist:

Play it safe – Take unnecessary risks
Know your limitations – Think your superman
Remind yourself it’s just a job – Your job is the only way to exercise you creativity
Show you’re the smartest guy in the room (skepticism) – Be gullible believe in everything
Be the tough guy (demand to see the data) – You know better than them, use your guts… all the time
Respect history – Don’t learn from history
Crush early stage ideas – Assign your limited resources to every single idea
Been there done that (experience) – Reinvent the wheel, every time
Keep your mind closed – This one I agree with, but easier said than done
Assume there is no problem – Assume there is always a problem, parano a is good
Underestimate your customers – The customer is always right
Be a mentor (give sound advice) – Keep your knowledge for yourself
Be suspicious of the creative’s – Be suspicious of the technical
Act like a grown-up – Act like a baby

Pro Creativity Checklist:

Take risks. Life is too short not to. There are no such things as limitations
Do the best you can and stick out like a sore thumb
Be a believer. NOTHING is impossible
Make your own data. And make it prettier
Never look back. What’s done is done, but the future holds endless possibilities
Everyone is insane, some just know how to use it better than others
Experience doesn’t exist, because the world is always changing, and we must change with it
“Feel the rain on your skin. No one else can feel it for you; only you can let it in”
There has been, is, and always will be a problem
NEVER underestimate the human mind, even that of a child’s
Be a student. Never stop learning
Embrace those who embrace creativity, for they are the ones who are truly happy
NEVER act like a grown-up, ever. It’s much too boring, and being a child is too fun

Considering the growth challenges faced by entreprenerus, these two checklists can help executives and entreprenerus in understanding the stumbling blocks and facili

About the author

Hammad Siddiqui Passionate Trainer, Blogger and social media strategist - Qualified from US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organization Management, I have been engaged in Private Sector Development for over 22 years. Love reading, traveling, mentoring. Professionally, I am working as Deputy Country Director at Center for International Private Enterprise (Pakistan Office) - My blogposts cover topics related to Entrepreneurship, Management, Career and Social Media. You can join me at Google+ or Facebook.

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  1. [...] creative. But what is creativity. Again there are several definitions. The best I could find is by Richard Branson who said “creativity is not about creating something new, it’s about giving a new [...]