Stop Creativity, Start Solving Problems

Don't be stuck with creativity

Don’t be stuck with creativity

There is too much emphasis on creativity nowadays, on getting « ideas » like there was a lack of it. People are not creative, people don’t have ideas, we should built creative organizations. This is what I hear or read almost everyday: « Creativity is what we need to innovate ».

However, when you talk to CEOs of small and medium companies, they have plenty of ideas, if you talk to employees they have tons ideas. We are creative by nature, we are made to adapt, to find solutions.

I have been reading a very interesting article on Harvard Business Review Blog about creativity. It explained that the problem is not that organizations were not creative, it is because they were not selecting the good ideas due to a bias induced by an uncertain environment.

So the issue is not about having ideas, it is about recognizing the good ones. And I will go further than this by saying recognizing good ideas and making them right.

Most of the latest successful innovations were made based on « old » existing ideas or products. Those companies outperformed by their implementation of existing ideas.

Creativity is not an end in itself

The danger of creativity is that we lose focus on making it happen. Talking about creativity alone is nonsense, then you should talk about Art or Philosophy.

I see many workshops organized for the sake of creativity, without putting it into the context of innovation and what it takes for an innovation to succeed.

By focusing on creativity, there is a risk of starting off a race for the most creative idea or the idea no one had before. This will lead to missing the obvious solutions and losing time. Creativity is not an efficient process, it requires a lot of time. And time is something we don’t have in our world (unfortunately).

Forget about creativity as a competitive advantage

Creativity is not what will provide you a competitive advantage. Don’t be too presumptuous, there is probably someone on earth who already had the very same idea before you did. If it is not the case, then it is a bad idea.

Someone told me: « with research and development you can be the first ». Yes, it is true but research and development is not about having an idea, it is about solving a problem.

Stop being creative and start solving problems!

Creativity is not the start of an innovation process, it is something you can use all along the innovation process to solve the problems you will face.

You don’t need workshops to be creative. Creativity is in an ongoing process that comes in when you face constraints.

So my advice is start first with a problem to solve and then get creative about it if you don’t find the solution.

Une réflexion au sujet de « Stop Creativity, Start Solving Problems »

  1. Tout à fait d’accord : la créativité est le moteur de l’innovation et l’innovation est un outil pour la résolution de problèmes.
    Inventor looking for entrepreneur
    After working 30 years with CATERPILLAR where I was one of their best expert in designing complex hydraulic circuits and components for earth-moving machines, I retired and redesigned the water circuitry and water mixers in my house (a less complex circuitry).
    The result is a new water mixer that deliver the hot water without wasting the cold water in the pipes and in the same time it reduces the waiting time for hot water. With more comfort you can reduce the water consumption by more than 40 L/day in a standard house.
    The product and schematics (for new constructions and for home improvements) are shown on my website :
    My objective is to make this new product quickly available for the greatest number of people (additional cost would be very low) and to recover my development investments.
    I developed the product alone, up to the pre-production (samples are available for test and evaluation), but I did not received any support at all to start a production, so I recently decided to sell or licence my patents ( US2012118415 – CA2768336 – EP2457131 – CN102549518 Patents pending) via a patent broker that I have not yet found.
    The product is ready and works OK for two years in my house, samples are available for test and evaluation, a lot of final users (those that pay for the water) are on demand, but I need somebody interested to produce the water mixer by the acquisition or purchase of the patents in Europe, USA, Canada and China, and freely in the other countries.
    I can support the production by providing the detailed drawings and suppliers references (at least one supplier is available for each component).
    Thank you for relaying this information to those concerned.

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