How creativity feeds into the innovation process

What is the difference between creativity and innovation? Haworth looks at the complex process of creativity to help organisations innovate successfully

Innovation and creativity are often used interchangeably; however it is the successful organisations that can distinguish a difference between the two and really understand how they work.

In this report Haworth defines the process of creating innovation, and the impact the environment can have on this process. Haworth describe creativity as a new and useful idea, and innovation as the process which makes that idea a reality in a market that values it. Organisations need to understand how new ideas are generated, shared and accepted to create successful innovations.

The four steps to innovation

Haworth has identified a four-point process to achieve innovation in an organisation:

1: A person uses what they know to generate ideas

2: These ideas are shared with others

3: Others determine whether the new ideas are ‘new’ and helpful

4: If the ideas are helpful, together the team make the idea a reality as new physical products or ways of doing things

Sharing new ideas with colleagues adds to the knowledge bank, which helps feed ideas, and so the circle is complete.

Fostering innovation

The report looks at how we can foster individual creativity using four sense-making processes: preparation (gathering information), incubation (information integrated into what we know), insight (recognising new ways information can be used), and verification (evaluating and elaborating on a creative idea). Although Haworth has applied this theory to individual innovation processes, it recognises that it can also be applied to group innovation.

Based on this process, innovation requires both individual and collaborative thinking to be successful. The environment and space provided has to reflect this type of working to harvest creative thoughts and catalyse innovation. While collaborative spaces are important for knowledge sharing, an office should provide a variety of spaces that can foster different stages of the process.

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