Innovation is about practical creativity and making new ideas useful. Creativity that innovation needs is a process that can be helped or hindered by the external creative process.
The flow of ideas through an organisation may be too slow and too judgemental to bring you sufficient raw materials for new insights. Your workspace may be too dull or negative to encourage imaginative adventure or play. The people who surround you may be anti-idea, anti-novelty, or just so similar that you rarely hear anything you didn’t previously hear or know.
People in positions of authority often favour order over chaos. Organised people tend to squeeze out divergent possibilities because they want to get on with convergent opportunities. Unfortunately, time and cost pressure often also discourages people from playing and exploring new ideas needed for successful innovation. The truth is that progress depends on stability and instability.
There is a danger that people develop a kind of learned anti-creativity helplessness. They wait for formal permission or training or resources before they start to be creative. Or they hide their creativity for fear of embarrassment, punishment or simply being blocked. If only creativity from senior managers, or outside experts, is rewarded, then why be creative at the bottom or middle of the organisation?
It’s tempting to self-censor your ability to do something new or beautiful because of bad experiences, because you don’t believe you are creative, or because you think there’s only one right answer.
In reality, there are endless answers to countless subjective and objective questions about what is better. Nothing is fixed. Most of everything we take for granted in our modern lives has been invented or discovered by the creative dissatisfaction of our predecessors.
Believing in just one best answer can be a habit as much as a personality trait. It’s encouraged by formal schooling and cultural norms. The safety from fitting into the group by living, and thinking, according to an accepted normal tradition is attractive to many people. In extreme cases, only the incurably creative retain their everyday ability to generate divergent ideas. They are the novelty outliers, the future builders.
Source: The Innovation Book (2014)