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The Key Elements - Strategy, Innovation and Creativity

Strategy, innovation and creativity are distinct but vital requirements of your business. Carl Reader explains why The Key Elements - Strategy, Innovation and Creativity

There’s a constant stream of change in our working lives. Trends and buzzwords come and go, while motivations, values and goalposts change, which all keep us moving forwards and, hopefully, upwards.

However, the basics of business won’t change. It’s still a transaction between two entities and a transfer of value. But the way we do it is undeniably changing.

As the cliché goes, the only constant in life and business is change. For a business to survive, it’s crucial to adapt, not only to meet the ever changing needs and expectations of your markets, but also to set your business apart and ultimately make it sustainable.

This is where strategy, innovation and creativity comes in. All three are distinct, but essential requirements of a business. To be able to apply them effectively, it’s important to understand the difference between the three of them.

Idea generation

Creativity is the idea generation. It’s fi nding the problems and/or the solutions that goes with them. It’s looking thoughtfully at the threats or opportunities and crafting notions that can help your business best face up to them.

Creativity is about unleashing potential to conceive new ideas. Many organisations seek creativity and it’s crucial, but as a standalone it’s limited. It’s subjective and can be di cult to measure.

Putting the ideas to work

What’s usually lacking in many businesses is not ideas themselves, it’s the putting the ideas to work. The action behind the creativity - the innovation.

Innovation is a combination of the creativity and inspiration (fi nding the problem or the opportunity), the ideation (working out how you do it) and the implementation (the most important part of all).

We all know that person who came up with eBay before eBay did - someone with great ideas, but who does nothing with them. That’s the difference between creativity and innovation. Both are essential to each other, but it’s innovation - taking action on the creativity - that’s critical to moving a business forward.

It’s tricky to force creativity, but good leaders can ensure innovation is consistently pursued in their business.

Innovation is measurable - businesses should make sure that creativity leads to innovation and meets a need. This is why a business should differentiate.

Having a process

Much in the same way that innovation requires creativity, I believe strategy requires innovation, but cannot be dictated by innovation, because they’re fundamentally very different.

For me, a strategic outlook is about having a process - a clear path to where you’re going. It’s rare that strategy will embrace failure - after all, who puts ‘failure’ in their plan?

However, for successful innovation, embracing failure is essential. This doesn’t excuse poor performance however, because failure can only happen once. If the same failure happens twice, that ends up becoming a mistake and that’s not innovation, that’s just stupidity.

The key here is to embrace mistakes - to test, measure and see what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly.

The impact of innovation is accelerating, and some of it will, without doubt, shift us. I believe we’re not just evolving, we’re currently going through a revolution.

The way we conduct business is changing, but so is the way we live our lives. Without a crystal ball, who knows what’s around the corner? Read more like this

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