Creativity is Different From Innovation : American Express OPEN Forum

Creativity is Different From Innovation

Jan 04, 2010 John L. Mariotti 

This idea is not a new one.  Theodore Levitt raised this issue in his legendary 1963 Harvard Business Review article entitled “Creativity is not enough.”  He emphasized his title with the statement: 


“The fact that you can put a dozen inexperienced people in a room and conduct a brainstorming session that produces exciting new ideas shows how little relative importance ideas themselves actually have.”


Thoughtful and thought provoking article and topic worth some pondering.

This is also helpful in delineating as I like to do between innovation, invention and discovery.

While I have a bit different view of creativity, Mariotti's observations about the critical role of asking the right questions and inverting or turning things around is key for me.  With my incessant asking "What if the impossible isn't?" you can imagine  why I appreciate his comments:

"Then it is important to ask the right questions, in the right ways — and then answer them.  We humans tend to answer the questions we are asked.  Instead of asking, “Why can’t we?” ask, “How can we, or how else might we?”  

The difference in these two questions might seem small, but it is huge.  Ask a question about why we can’t do something, and the answer is a litany of reason why we can’t do it.  Simply turn the question around and ask, “how can we?” and the litany is a listing of what is, or might be possible."

Unfortunately for you, this only serves to fuel me to continue to be more curious and to ask What if the impossible isn't?

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