Nurture Creativity to Fuel Innovation
In many companies, the terms ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ are still thrown about without much thought to what they actually mean. Creativity is defined as the ability to produce new and unique ideas. Innovation, put simply, is developing creativity into something useful and practical.
In the fast moving world, we live in today, creativity and innovation are critical factors to any business’s success. You just have to take a look the big brands like Apple and Google to realise the benefit these skill sets have in the workplace. Each company nurtures creativity from unique office environments to giving employees time each day for deviation. This investment produces teams of people who challenge the norm, think outside the box and it’s become the driving force behind some of the companies best innovations.
Creativity is an ability everyone is capable of, not only the ‘artistic’ people. There’s a great TED talk by Ken Robinson about schools killing creativity. In it, he discusses how we are ‘taught out of creativity’ and it’s something I firmly believe. I have memories of being scoffed at for my bizarre problem-solving techniques and wild ideas as they didn’t follow a textbook. Luckily, my experiences didn’t affect my creative confidence but it does question how many amazing ideas are lost each day for fear of being wrong.
There is, however, a limit on how far creativity can get you. To innovate, new or unique ideas have to be implemented successfully if they’re to have any use in business. There needs to be budget, the technology available and there has to be a desire amongst your target audience for what you produce.
Over the past few years I've worked on various tools, as well as developing an ideation process to help groups of marketeers drive innovation.
The process is made up of three phases. The first ensures everyone has a shared understanding of the problem we need to solve, focusing on the needs of the consumer and getting the group to associate real life experiences to that problem so we uncover human truths. The second session is designed to builds on these truths, allowing people to exercise their creative abilities without judgement. And the third session is made up of a rigorous process, including group voting, to stress test ideas and ensure they hit the ‘innovation sweet spot’.
The result could be an industry-first campaign or simply improving an on-pack promotion through a new piece of technology so it's easier to redeem or more engaging. The process is designed to give teams a new and productive way of working so they can consistently develop innovative ideas.