Creativity, Invention, and Innovation

I had conducted several workshops on Finding the barrier that block creativity in organization from being implemented. One of the activities that I asked the participants to do was to think of the good idea that they had but not yet being done. At first I asked them to think of work-related creative idea. The result turn out that only very few came up with ideas. But when I asked them to rethink of the good ideas, not necessary to be a work-related idea, the results turned out to be tremendous. Numerous ideas sprung out.

From my thinking, people have ideas. Some of them are good ideas that can bridge to the work. These ideas seem to be little knickknack, but it can improve the works that they are doing or even create good images or contributing back to socials or health. Ideas that seems to be non-work-related, can turn out to be beneficial to work if its get to be carried over. And above all, many think their ideas are not important, or not even worth the thought to lead to innovation.

So in this scene, innovation seems to be misperceived. Many people think innovative idea is the idea that make a great big change to the work, to the customer, to the company, to the country, or to the world. That's why when some of the workshop participants who are on the line of production or routine service, are reluctant to share their creative ideas.

When it comes to creativity, some people believe it's the nature of the one who was born with it. By this way, creativity is a gift that cannot be built. But that's not entirely true. So it is necessary to define creativity. Creativity, in many contexts, is a confusing word and are mixed up with invention and innovation. Clear definition and boundary are needed to differentiate these words.

Creativity is the ability to use imagination, experience, or the original idea to create new ideas that no one knows it's missing. By this definition, creativity is the new idea that may lead to many new actions, inventions, or innovations. In other word, creativity is the foundation to invention and innovation.

Invention is used for the invent of new things to the world. The new things can be a machine, device, technology, or process that has the novelty quality.

Innovation is the creative ideas or the invention that are put to action to have commercial value.

With this definition, Invention is not necessary an innovation. It is if the invention do not create the commercial value. We have seen many invention that are not commercialized or tried to commercialized but no one buy it.

Not Use Invention-Diet Water
Not Use Invention-DVD Rewinder
Not Use Invention-Umbrella for Shoes
Not Used Invention-Gold Fish Walker

We also have seen many innovative products that are not a new invention, but a combination of inventions to create a new value. The great example would be the Apple iPhone. Apple did not invent the phone or the mobile phone. Apple did not invent the music player. Apple did not invent the storage to store music. Apple did not invent the compression technology that make music into small files and preserve the sound quality. But Apple combined all these great functions together to make an iPhone, a mobile phone that has the functions of the mobile music players. This invention create commercial values that drives Apple to be the biggest tech company in the world.

iPhone Music Player

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