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What is Creativity and Innovation?

Question:

Discuss about the Innovation and Creativity for Theory and Practice.

Creativity and Innovation are two very inter related concepts, however have subtle differences. Creativity can be understood as the ability to act or think in new or novel ways, while innovation and invention are two types of creativity. Innovation is the ability to implement creativity in something that already exists, while invention is the usage of creativity to make something new (Pavenkov et al., 2015). Researchers often consider creativity as a soert of ‘muse’ for the team or individual, or a source from which concepts or ideas emerge, possibly in an unpredictable or haphazard way (Anderson et al., 2014; van Tilburg et al., 2015). Creativity is often associated with three aspects, namely: problem solving, imagination and struggle. Imagination can involve aspects such as spontaneity, unconventionality, giftedness or intuition, while problem solving can involve intellect, organization and skills, and struggle implies that creativity can be a difficult process of extracting ideas through struggle (Beaty et al., 2014; Griese et al., 2016). Moreover, creativity can be a personal attribute. Innovation on the other hand is defined as the ability to implement ideas that are a product of a creative though process. This essentially makes creativity a precursor to innovation and thereby forms a linear relation between these two concepts (Reid & De Brentani, 2004). In the context of an organization, personal creativity can be integrated into an impersonal organizational structure in such a way that shows innovative organization to employ creative individuals.

Organizations that are successful know the importance of innovation in their business. They are usually able to understand how improvement and development of the organization can happen through effective innovations, and can ensure quality of the products as well as provide scope for business scaling up (Appiah-Adu et al., 2018). The following strategies are effective in the implementation of innovation and creativity within the workforce, and help to increase operational systems and enhance the products or services given to the end users:

  • Ensuring that Innovation as an integral part of the business plan and philosophy- innovative organizations should be able to realize that innovation is a part of a continuous process that is important for the growth of the organization. Including innovation as an integral part of the business plan and philosophy can help to foster an environment of creativity (Wirtz et al., 2016).
  • Leadership in innovation- This entails the ability to take a lead in the implementation of innovative ideas, and therefore lead the trend. Most of the biggest successful organizations were the first to come up with innovative ideas (Banerjee et al., 2016). Companies like Tesla started operating their Factories on solar powers, setting up extensive solar fields to harness the abundant energy of the sun (Forbes.com, 2018). While Unihertz implemented innovative design in the manufacture of smart phones, to produce the world smallest phones (Unihertz.com, 2018). Even market leaders like Facebook uses innovation in the designing of their web pages, providing an ever improving experience of using their site, at the same time addressing the constant need for security for the users.
  • Developing technology for collaboration-For an organization to be successful, an effective IT infrastructure is required that ensures an uninterrupted and uncompromised flow of data between the different departments and segments of the organization (Bruhn & Ahlers, 2017). This ensures that ideas are successfully shared between everyone in the organization, thereby enhancing their chance of being implemented. Companies like Hewlett Packard has internal communication network that spans globally across all their business units, connecting all their employees. Additionally, they have a platform where every employee can share creative ideas or designs for programs, products or services, which the organization can analyze, and consider for implementation if found suitable. Furthermore, employees are also rewarded and given recognition for the development of good innovative ideas.
  • Developing an innovation friendly environment- this allows organizations to ensure quality and creativity at every step of the process. This ensures that every department of the organization shares the same focus towards innovation and creativity (Fauver et al., 2017).
  • Measuring innovation- it is also essential to have metric for the assessment of creative and developmental processes. Success of the organizations is dependent on the expense of implementing the innovation at the organizational level. To measure the success of an innovative idea can be analyzed through the time that was spent in sessions on creativity, expense of training employees on skills of innovation, the amount of organizational restructuring that occurred to support the innovative process (Corrado et al., 2017).
  • Not being afraid to try new ideas- This involves a certain degree of risk taking and experimentation, which allows the development of new products or services in the market (Paradkar et al., 2015). For example, the marketing strategy used by Dominoes Pizza that promised their customer free pizza, if their ordered arrived after 30 minutes.
  • Funding programs of creative training- Recognizing the importance of a creative team, it is important to ensure proper funding to train them on creativity, due to which several companies like Amazon, Tesla, Nokia, and Dominoes have implemented special employee training programs on creativity (Reis & Hunt, 2016).
  • Rewarding creativity among employees- Through rewards and recognitions, organizations can also foster an environment of creativity, where the employees are not afraid to come up with new ideas (McIntyre & Brown, 2017). Hewlett Packard has implemented such concepts within the organization and thus fosters a creative work environment.

Here, examples of few organizations will be discussed where through the process of creativity and innovation they were able to ensure organizational success, and growth of the business. In this context, smaller and lesser knows companies will be considered (than the ones mentioned above), discussing what they did to achieve their success. These companies are: Unihertz Mobile Phones for their smallest phone design; Sonim XP 1300 core for its rugged designing and Greenphone for using Linux based operating system and open source softwares on their system as well as an environmental friendly approach of recycling phones.

Each of these organizations: Unihertz, Sonim and Greenphone implemented innovative ideas in the manufacture of mobile phones, to gain a competitive advantage, and provide something new to their users. Doing so they created unique niche in the mobile phone industry, setting up trends.

Unihertz implemented the idea of creating the smallest smartphones in the world. In a competitive arena, where most mobile companies are striving towards phones with larger displays, and flamboyant designs, Unihertz provides a much simplistic design for the phone. Their design are addressed to people who finds using heavy and expensive phones as an inconvenience, and provides the solution in the form of an ultra small android phone, that supports a dual SIM design, 4G network and a 1080p resolution video. The form factor in itself weighs only 60.4 gram, and smaller than a credit card. This allows the phone to be highly portable and easy to carry around (Unihertz.com, 2018).

The Importance of Innovation in Organizations

Sonim (XP 1300 Core) on the other hand, implemented innovation in designing one of the most resilient mobile phones in the world. The phone can be submerged up to 2 meters in water for up to 30 minutes (protecting the phone against rain, fog and salt air), can withstand an impact of falling from 2 meters on a concrete floor, it has gorilla glass lens to absorb maximum shock and resistance from scratches, uses heavy duty battery to provide 18 hours of talk time or 800 hours of standby, provides a non-porous body to resist the entry of micro particles and thus is impervious to dust, the phone can operate in extreme temperatures (ranging between -20 degree Celsius to +55 degree Celsius, the phone is built with tough materials (like dual injected shell consisting of fiberglass mix and hardened rubber) to give optimum resilience, uses wide spaces between the keys to allow the phone to be used with gloved hands, can protects the 23,, speakers with a GORE cover (Cdn.cnetcontent.com, 2018). This unique design allows the mobile phone users to use this phone under extreme conditions most other phones won’t survive in.

Greenphone on the other hand focuses on the environmental impact of mobile phones that have been discarded. The discarded phones are mostly laden with toxic chemicals and heavy metal, which are a serious source of pollutants and contaminants in the nature. The organization reaches out to the mobile phone users, and pays them not to throw away their used phones in the garbage, thereby keeping them off the landfills and polluting the environment, and helping them to be reused. The organization then collects these used phones, and puts them to be reused or recycled. The company also uses open source softwares on their phones to reduce the costs even further. This shows their strong organizational commitment in leading the future of cleaner and environmentally friendly business approach (Greenphones.no, 2018). 

Creativity: Is almost synonymous with divergence in thinking, which allows identification of new strategies to solve problems. It is different from a convergent form of thinking which is utilized to get answers. Thus creativity is a process that leads to the formation of new or more effective ideas or solutions, where new refers to the ideas being original or pure. The effectiveness of the ideas refers to the degree to which it is related to the objectives or goals of the organization and forms the basis of organizational value. Creativity can also be understood as the ability to create new solutions which can utilize existing information to be implemented in a new direction. Overall, creativity can refer to the process where mental ability is used to make a new concept of thought and thereby develop exquisite or imaginary ideas on different situations. The design by Unihertz, reflects a creative approach towards meeting the needs to mobile phone users for a lighter weight and more compact design, compared to the large cumbersome phones in today’s market. The company manufactures phones which are smaller than a credit card, and hence makes it very easy to carry. This reflects creativity in design (Gholami & Karimi, 2014).

Effective Strategies for Implementing Innovation and Creativity

Innovation: In this process, any kind of new or useful ideas or concepts are collected in order to find solutions to problems. This involves the formation, adoption as well as implementations of the new concepts or ideas on its services, products or the business processes. In the context of the market, innovation is the ability to provide new and useful concepts and transfer that quickly to the market and also implement them in the business process of the organization to enable better streamlining of the products or services towards the problem (like providing products that are cheaper, better quality and provides more value for money). Joseph Schumpeter’s research on innovation outlines for steps for implementing innovation within an organization as 1) Introducing a new product or changing an existing one 2) creating a new niche in the market 3) Identifying a new source of materials and other supplies as the input for the new product 4) Modifying the organizational structure. Design by Sonim shows innovation in the implementation of resilience in the phone. Their design addresses the needs of those individuals who need to use the phone under extreme conditions, or where the phones are at high risks of enduring impacts which can potentially damage the phone. The company uses innovative ideas, incorporating highly resilient materials to design the phone, provide superior protection against environmental factors which can render most other phones useless. Their ability to utilize existing technologies in the designing of their phone shows innovation in their design and manufacture (Gholami & Karimi, 2014).

Entrepreneurship: has been regarded as many researchers as a type of behavior or lifestyle or a type of artistic work. Entrepreneurship can be expressed as a consistent search for change, or a reaction towards the change and finding opportunity of benefit in the process of change. It can be any form of purposeful action which can involve participation or decisions of an individual or a group in order to develop, create or maintain the organizational unit. On the other hand certain authors have also defined entrepreneurship as a form of creative destruction. According to Schumpeter, innovation is a process that happens at the beginning of entrepreneurship, and through creativity, it can create a transient monopoly, which thereby can lead to exclusive profit. And by extending the innovation, the exclusive profits can diminish giving scope for further innovations. Thus in entrepreneurship, it is necessary to define both the environment as well as the individual. Greenphone shows entrepreneurship and leadership ideas in their business process, by exhibiting an environmentally responsible stance of allowing old phones to be recycled. The organization aims to manufacture phones at cheaper costs by reusing old phone components as well as using open source applications to be used on the phones (Gholami & Karimi, 2014).

A creative process can consist of sequence of steps like: a) forming, identifying and defining a problem or challenge b) collecting data on the problem or challenge c) forming an idea based on the collected data d) evaluation. The process of innovation can comprise of 5 steps: 1) creating the idea 2) choosing the idea 3) making the pattern 4) Business planning 5)Acting and performing. The process of entrepreneurship consists of 5 components: 1) Entrepreneur 2) Opportunity 3) Structure 4)Sources and 5)Strategy and business plan. Each of the 5 aspects directly contributes to the entrepreneurship process (Gholami & Karimi, 2014).

Case Studies of Successful Innovative Companies

Conclusion

Creativity and Innovations are an inter-related phenomenon. Through creativity in the though process at a personal level, innovation in an organizational  level can be achieved. This can foster individuals to find newer solutions to existing problems and ensure maintenance of the quality of the products or services offered by the organization. Creativity therefore can act as a precursor to innovation, and in the context of an organization, an environment of innovation and creativity can be implemented by integrating these values at the core of the organizational design and philosophy, enabling leadership in innovation, allowing better collaboration and more efficient transfer of innovative and creative ideas within the organization, ensuring rewards, developing methods to measure creativity and innovation within the organization and recognition of employees who shows creativity and innovative ideas. Additionally, reducing the fear of the employees to try new ideas as well as enhancing their skills through training programs to facilitate the use of creativity in the organization  can be very useful. Many organizations have reached the summits of success through the implementation of creative and innovative ideas. In the manufacturing of phones, Unihertz, Sonim and Greenphone have shown exceptional ideas on innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship to design phones which addresses specific market niche for the phone industry, namely 1) the need for a less cumbersome, lighter and smaller (easy to carry) phone. 2) The need for a more resilient phone 3) reducing the environmental impact of discarded phones. Such needs have resulted in Unihertz to manufacture one of the smallest smartphones, Sonim to manufacture one of the most resilient phones and Greenphone showing the ability to reuse old phone parts.

References:

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

Appiah-Adu, K., Okpattah, B., & Amoako, G. K. (2018). Building Capability for Organizational Success: An Emerging Market Perspective. Journal of African Business, 19(1), 86-104.

Banerjee, B., Ceri, S., & Leonardi, C. (2016). Innovation Leadership: A New Kind of Leadership. In Creating Innovation Leaders (pp. 53-80). Springer, Cham.

Beaty, R. E., Nusbaum, E. C., & Silvia, P. J. (2014). Does insight problem solving predict real-world creativity?. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8(3), 287.

Bruhn, M., & Ahlers, G. M. (2017). Integrated Communication in the Innovation Process—An Approach to Integrated Innovation Communication. In Strategy and Communication for Innovation (pp. 205-225). Springer, Cham.

Cdn.cnetcontent.com. (2018). SONIM XP1300 CORE. Cdn.cnetcontent.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018, from https://cdn.cnetcontent.com/54/54/5454cd0f-4ddf-412b-9143-63626a953bf3.PDF

Corrado, C., Miranda, J., Haskel, J., & Sichel, D. (2017). Introduction to" Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the 21st Century". In Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the 21st Century. University of Chicago Press.

Fauver, L., McDonald, M., & Taboada, A. G. (2017). Does It Pay to Treat Employees Well? International Evidence on the Value of an Employee-Friendly Environment.

Forbes.com. (2018). Forbes Welcome. Forbes.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2017/12/19/how-is-teslas-solar-business-faring/&refURL=https://www.google.co.in/&referrer=https://www.google.co.in/

Gholami, K., & Karimi, A. (2014). The Role of creativity, innovation and enterpreneeeurership in the organization. Bepls.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018, from https://www.bepls.com/vol3_spl_II/12.pdf

Greenphones.no. (2018). Mobiltelefoner og nettbrett, brukte og defekte | GreenPhones. Greenphones.no. Retrieved 14 April 2018, from https://www.greenphones.no/

Griese, V. E. (2016). The Struggle for Creativity: The Effect of Systems on Principal Creativity a Systems Theory Perspective(Doctoral dissertation, The George Washington University).

McIntyre, D., & Brown, S. (2017). Costs and Rewards of Innovation: Taking Account of the Teachers’ Viewpoint. In Innovation in the Science Curriculum (pp. 115-147). Routledge.

Paradkar, A., Knight, J., & Hansen, P. (2015). Innovation in start-ups: Ideas filling the void or ideas devoid of resources and capabilities?. Technovation, 41, 1-10.

Pavenkov, O., Pavenkov, V., & Rubtcova, M. (2015). The influence of social norms for creativity in an organization of the media industry: theoretical framework.

Reid, S. E., & De Brentani, U. (2004). The fuzzy front end of new product development for discontinuous innovations: A theoretical model. Journal of product innovation management, 21(3), 170-184.

Reis, D., & Hunt, B. (2016, December). Training Businesspeople in Structured Innovation: Uncovering the Innovation Learner's Experience. In ISPIM Innovation Symposium (p. 1). The International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM).

Unihertz.com. (2018). JELLY - Unihertz. Unihertz.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018, from https://www.unihertz.com/jelly.html

van Tilburg, W. A., Sedikides, C., & Wildschut, T. (2015). The mnemonic muse: Nostalgia fosters creativity through openness to experience. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 59, 1-7.

Wirtz, B. W., Pistoia, A., Ullrich, S., & Göttel, V. (2016). Business models: Origin, development and future research perspectives. Long Range Planning, 49(1), 36-54.

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