Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation while innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialization.
There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialization. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercializing those ideas will not be wasted.
One of the useful methods of valuing ideas is to compare the type of idea with those types of ideas that have previously been most successful.
Franklin (2003) notes that some kinds of ideas are more successful than others. He notes six types:
a) Need spotting – involves actively finding an answer to a problem.
b) Solution spotting – involves finding a problem for a solution.
c) Market Research – ideas generated as a result of market research.
d) Random event – moments of serendipity when people stumble across answers they were not looking for.
e) Mental invention – pure random ideas with no previous knowledge of how they may be implemented.
f) Trend following.
Of these, the random event was the most successful (92.9%) with least failures (7.1%). However, this type of idea requires previous knowledge or experience on some level – for example, an individual who has worked in an environment previously may use that tacit knowledge to solve a problem that becomes evident later.
Very close to the above is solution spotting with an 87.5% success and a 12.5% failure rate. Again, this idea type requires previous knowledge: the innovator consciously seeks a problem to apply that knowledge to.
These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http: //www.managing-creativity. com .
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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