Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. 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 commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

Creativity, Innovation and Market Performance 

In the broadest terms, strategy is about growth. Decision makers are constantly looking for growth, in fact, in listed firms, shareholders demand it and at ever increasing rates.

Decision makers have therefore to decide how to grow. There are a number of growth models and one of them is the Ansoff Model, which is useful for this argument:

a) Market penetration – existing products in existing markets

b) Market development – existing products in new markets

c) Product development – new products in existing markets

d) Diversification – new products in new markets.

The strategies above suggest, at least, that:

a) There should be a strong correlation between new products and market performance. This is proved correct (Tidd et al, 2005).

b) Innovation is required consistently no matter what strategy is chosen. Existing products in existing markets must consistently improve their cost / performance mix to beat off rivals and innovation is required to find new markets for existing products. It is more obvious that innovation is required when new product strategies are engaged in.

These and other 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 www.managing-creativity.com.

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