In my experience… creative ideation leads to tangible innovation
It’s amazing how many new businesses, products and services are created every year. I’ve said to myself many times, “I wish I thought of that!” On the other hand, there are also times when I think, “There’s no way that will succeed.” Regardless, it’s clear that creativity is alive and well, particularly when it comes to entrepreneurial ideation.
In my experience, creativity is the precursor to innovation. It can occur anywhere, anytime. On numerous occasions I wish I had pen and paper or my phone handy to capture an idea that I later forgot (I’m sure there were several billion-dollar opportunities in there). Sometimes creativity is a planned exercise meant to be a stimulus for innovation, whether in a classroom, conference room or elsewhere. Other times it happens without prompting.
When talking with others about innovation the discussion inevitably includes some basis in creativity. These discussions are most interesting and productive when the group is diverse in all respects. Some of the questions I’ve heard and used myself for ideation exercises are as follows.
What does the world need?
What frustrates you?
What would you like to see exist?
What problem can you solve?
The questions are simple, and the answers are the beginnings of the bridge between creative ideation and tangible innovation.
Everyone has ideas about what they think would make life better and hearing the rationale behind them is proof of the innovation potential that exists in each person. We have to find the right way to tap into it and create environments that value this inherent creativity.
Chances are multiple people recognize the same need or opportunity, yet each offers a different twist to the solution, which is both validating and motivating. This opens the door to collaboration and synergies not previously realized.
Final thought: Ideation was the “easy” part. Now try to monetize it. Good luck! :)
Special thanks to Shanti Elangovan and Sage Salvo, two incredibly creative entrepreneurs I’ve had good fortune of crossing paths with and whose respective companies and innovations are impressive. I’ve learned from both and appreciate the creative ways they approach running their businesses.