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What is Creativity and Critical Thinking?

You are a new graduate employee of an enterprise that makes and sells Elerium direct to the consumer via a network of 10 retail outlets around Australian and to an international market online.  Elerium sales are declining and your manager has been told the firm must become more innovative, but he does not quite understand why. Knowing you studied creativity and innovation at university, he asks you to prepare a report to brief him on the imperative for innovation.

Creativity is the ability to transform mental images or original ideas into reality. Academically it is the tendency of generating new ideas, reasoning, possibilities or alternatives that will help to solve communication problems with others and entertain ourselves and others(Drucker, 2014). Critical thinking is thinking involving any subject, problem or content in the way that improves quality of an individual thinking by skillfully assessing, analyzing and reconstructing it(Greenberg and Zhang, 2010). It is a self-corrective, self-monitored, self-directed and self-disciplined thinking (Greenberg and Zhang, 2010). Critical thinking and creativity relate to that they are dependent on each other(Drucker, 2014). Critical thinking requires creativity involvement in order to be effective(Greenberg and Zhang, 2010). The two are the preference in the 4c’s of 21st-century entrepreneurial tools.

Innovation is referred to as the new methods or idea(s) or the use of new ideas and methods in solving problems(Greenberg and Zhang, 2010). Innovation is understood as the application of solutions better for meeting new requirements, existing market needs or unarticulated needs(Greenberg and Zhang, 2010). Innovation takes place more effectively through the provision or use of technologies, services, processes, products or business models(Drucker, 2014). These provisions are made available to the government, market and to the society at large.

Innovation takes place through a process that involves five stages which includes:

This is the starting line of new ideas or methods. For an idea to be successful it must be pressured by the freedom to explore or the need to compete. When a new idea is generated it enters mobilization stage meaning the idea is in another logical or physical location(Anderson, Poto?nik and Zhou, 2014). It requires the innovators and marketers working together at this stage in order for the idea to move along(Drucker, 2014). This stage is important to enhance the innovation and skipping it can delay or ruin the process of innovation.

In this stage, the new idea is weighed and pros and cons are determined. In this stage, the advocacy and screening take place to do away with the ideas that are not worth it while taking care that stakeholders do not through the impulsively depending on their novelty(Drucker, 2014). When employees are aware that their new ideas are welcomed and perceived well-allowing defense, they are motivated to come with new ideas hence the company that encourages this is more successful(Lindi?, Baloh,  RibièRe, and Desouza, 2011). While some companies merely welcome ideas but do not pursue them making the new ideas generators even more skeptical.

Understanding Innovation and the Innovation Process

In this stage, the sustainability of idea is tested to determine whether it can be sustained in a particular organization, environment and time. In this stage, the customer is known and also what they are going to use the innovation for(Drucker, 2014). It is here that the innovation is known whether it is too way ahead of time or just not applicable in the target market(Gorgievski, Bakker and Schaufeli, 2010). In this stage, companies should be keen not to interpret these innovations as failures as they may be offering new grounds for new and great ideas(Drucker, 2014). In order to succeed in this stage, the company should test the new idea in few of its branches to avoid losing money and time when applying a new idea once without assurance it will work(Anderson, Poto?nik and Zhou, 2014). A good example is Washington Mutual Inc.’s that tested its new design in a few of its branches and realized its usefulness and extended it to other of its branches(Gap, 2017).

This stage involves organization looking at the customers to verify whether the innovation solves their problems and analyze the cost and benefit of implementing the innovation(Gap, 2017). The authors of this model state that “an invention is only considered an innovation [once] it has been commercialized.” This stage is very important and involves the right people in propelling the ideas to the next developmental stage(Anderson, Poto?nik and Zhou, 2014). For instance, one CEO said that innovators and authors do not understand the needs of this stage and once involved in it, the result is pain and even more painful.

Authors state that this stage is “two sides of the same coin.”Diffusion involves the gaining of company final acceptance of an innovation while the implementation is setting of structures, resources, and maintenance needed to produce it. In his stage, the new idea is fully used to improve productivity or solve existing problems in the market(Chao, Reid and Mavondo, 2012).

The 2017 global innovation index ranking (GIIR) placed Australia innovativeness at an average score of 51.8% and Canada at 53.1%(Gap, 2017). The seven pillars of innovation include innovation process, leadership structure, outcome, evidence-based practice, finance, policy and technology and communication(Greenberg, and Zhang, 2010). Close to half of Australian businesses are active in innovation and their innovation activities are distributed broadly across all the industrial sectors(Bidault and Castello, 2010). The countries firms prefer specializing in modifying innovations brought by other local firms though new-to-market ideas are not so common.  Australia ranks bottom half in innovation OECD across a range of metrics on collaboration for innovativeness(Bidault and Castello, 2010). Australia entrepreneurial spirit remains optimistic despite some decline dynamism in business in the country(Drucker, 2014). Evidence from international on employment suggests that concentration of employment and sales growth are in relatively small proportion where there is high-growth of firms (HGFs).

The Importance of Innovation in a Country's Economy

Canada effort in innovation policy has been enhanced by major government cuts in public expenditure which turns the federal budget with a deficit into the budgetary surplus of only G-7 countries(Chao, Reid and Mavondo, 2012). Strategic reductions of tax, large increases in public  R&D has been made possible by an improved macroeconomic situation which strengthened the measures to increase highly qualified labor, venture capital sector through support for graduate university studies as well as improvements of Canada immigration policies(Drucker, 2014). The publication of major Canada policy exercise and innovation strategy was done in 2002.

This explanation shows that Australia should focus on self-industrial innovation and stop relying on modifyinginnovation that has been introduced by local firms(Bidault and Castello, 2010).  Australia having been ranked bottom half in the world innovation index it needs to come up with better ways to encourage innovation amongst her own people(Gorgievski, Bakker and Schaufeli, 2010).

Innovation Drives Economic Growth

Innovation or use of new ideas will provide new goods and services with a higher value than the old ones. The ability to innovate is the key growth and progress of future economic health of a country. Innovation involves new trade relationships, new methods of production, and the introduction of new products in the market(Acs, Szerb and Lloyd, 2017). A good example is a reorganization of economic and business activities, and the discovery of raw materials(Hansen et al. 2011). Innovation triggers higher growth, and higher growth contributes to greater investment in development and research and this in return result in more innovation. This means a country will be more developed.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship across a Century

Many countries have seen growth and far much growth in centuries as a result of innovation. One of the countries that were considered a hotbed of growth and innovation in the twentieth century was Northeast Ohio today compared to Silicon Valley(Acs, Szerb and Lloyd, 2017). The country was blessed with energy, knowledge, and skills of their citizens and of new people who kept streaming in the country. The region was characterized by health concentration of entrepreneurs, experts working together, firms that created a major center for industrial innovation(Pratt and Jeffcutt, 2009).  Creativity is the core values that are attached to experts and entrepreneurs in order to improve their services.  

Innovation leads to improvements in the process of solving problems

In the world today, the major problem many countries are facing is unemployment. Innovation will act as a bridge to solve unemployment dilemma in a particular country. Product innovation mat means the emergence of new firms which would create new jobs(Gumusluogluand Ilsev, 2009). “Industrial and innovation policies that support R&D and product innovation, especially in high-tech sectors, can foster job creation.” The more people are employed the more a country will get increased revenue, the more the growth a country attracts. Creativity propels innovations forward, increases the business productivity, and helps in gaining competitive edge which every firm strives to achieve(Greenberg, and Zhang, 2010). Without creativity, there is zero innovation. Creativity is the ability to produce new ideas or unique ideas.

Conclusion

Creativity is a fundamental requirement in all sectors of economy and business and firms should be able to apply creativity in order to improve their effectiveness. Innovation, on the other hand, being the use of new ideas to solve or improve services and products in the market require creative minds for prosperity. In order for an innovation to be effective, it follows the five stages to be useful: Idea generation and Mobilization, Advocacy and screening, Experimentation, commercialization, Diffusion, and Implementation. A country with good innovation strategy is likely to improve its global innovation index as well as increase its GDP and the living standards of her people will increase. Innovation and creativity are equally important in a country. Creativity is the mother of innovation, for without creativity no innovation.

References

Acs, Z.J., Szerb, L. and Lloyd, A., 2017. The global entrepreneurship and development index. In Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index 2017 (pp. 29-53). Springer, Cham.

Anderson, N., Poto?nik, K. and Zhou, J., 2014. Innovation and creativity in organizations: A state-of-the-science review, prospective commentary, and guiding framework. Journal of Management, 40(5), pp.1297-1333.

Bidault, F. and Castello, A., 2010. Why too much trust is death to innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 51(4), p.33.

Chao, C.W., Reid, M. and Mavondo, F.T., 2012. Consumer innovativeness influence on really new product adoption. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 20(3), pp.211-217.

Drucker, P., 2014. Innovation and entrepreneurship. Routledge.

Gap, G.G., 2017. World Economic Forum. Cologny/Geneva.

Greenberg, J. and Zhang, Z., 2010. Managing behavior in organizations. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Gorgievski, M.J., Bakker, A.B. and Schaufeli, W.B., 2010. Work engagement and workaholism: Comparing the self-employed and salaried employees. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(1), pp.83-96.

Gumusluoglu, L. and Ilsev, A., 2009. Transformational leadership, creativity, and organizational innovation. Journal of business research, 62(4), pp.461-473.

Hansen, E.N., Nybakk, E., Bull, L., Crespell, P., Jélvez, A. and Knowles, C., 2011. A multinational investigation of softwood sawmilling innovativeness. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 26(3), pp.278-287.

Lindi?, J., Baloh, P., RibièRe, V.M. and Desouza, K.C., 2011. Deploying information technologies for organizational innovation: Lessons from case studies. International Journal of Information Management, 31(2), pp.183-188.

Pratt, A.C., and Jeffcutt, P. eds., 2009. Creativity, innovation and the cultural economy. Routledge.

Talukder, M., 2012. Factors affecting the adoption of technological innovation by individual employees: An Australian study. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 40, pp.52-57.

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