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Innovation Begins with Creativity

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Innovation Begins with Creativity
Creativity and the creative process is seen as a human trait. These are my ideas that have been informed with some research on what creativity means to humans and how it promotes innovation. The impact of creativity on innovation is bringing together connections from someone's experience and producing something new, this is creativity and in turn innovation. Creativity requires different kinds of thinking and draws on the richness of someone’s experience, not the depth of knowledge in one field. A creative or innovation person should be able to see the big picture and gather ideas from different places. If an individual is too focused on one task, it blinds them from the ideas all around them. Circumstance plays a large role in shaping someone's creative ability as well as the support from those around them. This is a more personal approach to creative thought and a valid one. Creativity in education shows students are progressing in a new thinking environment that is creative centered as well as innovative.
In my mind, creativity and innovation are in the most general sense the ability to make connections and come up with new ways of generating solutions. When thinking about creativity, most people think of the arts such as painting, sculpture, and music. The method people use to create something through these mediums is considered creative. This could include having influence from the past, having a certain way of doing art, or even influences from outside the field. Skill is a medium for creativity to emerge, skill and creativity can promote innovation. The way something is done can help to focus energy and ideas into one way of doing things to make it easier to be creative and therefore innovative. Some people need a certain amount of rules to produce an object or idea that can be useful. Innovation uses these same ideas, but with a different perspective.
An innovative person is one that thinks critically about the environment around them. They see things in a different light and act on their experience. This can be said about Pablo Picasso. The ability to do anything you want is not conducive to creativity, but may be considered innovative. Unlimited freedom can be the most limiting thing possible when thinking of innovation. With so many possibilities, the mind is not able to grasp any idea and mental connections or bridges are not made. I believe that Picasso meant that to be innovative, a set of rules must be applied to your experience or creativity. This helps to focus your skill and attention to a narrower task. This is very typical of Picasso because of his radical new art form of cubism. This new art movement was not spontaneous for him. He had been experimenting with different ways of painting for years before he finally perfected it in his mind. He set new rules to create a new creative way of experiencing objects and space. Picasso believed that since a painting is two-dimensional, the object in the painting should be seen from multiple angles. In this example, he is using the medium of the two-dimensional painting as a way to limit his creativity and create something amazing. He had a new thought and acted on his thoughts. This is the character of an innovative and creative person.
Creative activity is inherently human and although innovation stems from creativity it is not as inherently human. Our culture is built on innovation. Throughout human history we have shown ways that we separate ourselves from common animals. Since some of the first humans drew cave paintings, we have shown our instinct is to be innovative and find ways to accomplish our goals. The progress in the way we live now is a testament to that innovative energy. The products of creative energy are what we use to define our existence on the planet and promote innovation. Innovation is a big factor and has helped us get through extremely difficult times. This idea is becoming important in higher education. The need for the future generation to be innovative and creative has become the primary focus of some institutions. Many agree that the challenges that will be faced in the future will be complex and will require high creative and innovative capabilities. Although this is a popular opinion, different fields feel differently about what that actually means. STEM fields often have difficulty instilling creativity into the curriculum by nature of the vertical thinking approach of its subject matter. This is often at odds with artistic fields that focus on reflection and discussion to embrace creativity. The truth is that there are many ways to think about innovation and creativity and the goal is not always to be different.
It has been my experience that the creative process works in a cyclical pattern, which is similar to innovation. This means that it can start anywhere and truly does not have an end. The process is just a series of progressions towards a better solution. It is trial and error until an adequate solution is reached. We regress and we move forward in our thought process, making new connections and bringing in new and old evidence. When I am thinking creatively, my mind must often go very far from the stated objective, but it always comes back to the basic premise. It’s as if my mind is reaching for any connection or relation that the rest of my mind may have. This process becomes a pattern of progress, regression, and refinement in my head. I believe that most creative processes are like this and are able to cultivate innovation to find meaningful solutions.
Innovation is often seen as being different and a counter to the mainstream. While this seems intuitive, there is research that suggests that divergent thinking is often not the primary driver of innovation or creativity. Cultures can be generalized as to being conservative or liberal. The conservative cultures impose strong social norms and they are reinforced by the majority of the public. This puts pressure on individuals to conform to those social norms. Although seemingly restricting, these situations give people an understanding of rules and domains. Knowing brings confidence and the ability to be innovative. There are studies that indicate innovation means different things in different cultures. This further emphasizes the relation that creativity and innovation has to culture. The opposite is also true. People from looser cultures can succeed in being innovative and creative in culturally unfamiliar tasks. This would be considered the ‘rock the boat’ model. Creativity is a lot more encompassing than being different and rocking the boat. When there are extreme cultural and social changes happening in society, it is easy to become part of the movement because everyone is doing it. Sometimes this counter movement becomes less of a creative response than the mainstream. Innovation has a shifting pendulum that changes constantly but is always tied to local cultural aspects. There is a strong tie between creative thought, innovation and social circumstance. It seems that the phenomenon of innovation is dependent on the circumstance and environment of one's time.

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