A simple definition of term innovation

To be competitive in this changing world, we have to put efforts on coming up with new ideas, products, and services that add value to our organization. This solution we call “innovation”.

Innovation has become and is a symbol of modern society, keyword for success and financial growth, an imperative for companies and enterprises. Now-days, innovation is all over ICT and car industry, but also every cosmetics have some innovation formula, most companies have innovation section on web pages and not to mention medicine and pharmacy who offers an innovative drugs. From a business perspective, it is a way to improve business and make more profit, and from a perspective of a regular everyday normal guy it became just a buzzword.

The word itself is overused and if you check with a single Google search you’ll find about 557,000,000 results in 0.32 seconds! Definitions vary and innovation means different things to different people, industries and even to different science.

Popularity that (term) innovation gained in the last decade, made us think what people mean when they say we need more innovation or we need to be more innovative?

After reviewing dozens of definitions from a diverse set of relevant sources, we decided to provide a simple description of innovation that our regular everyday normal guy can understand.

Most important characteristics/dimensions of innovation are:

  1. Creating something fresh! Innovation starts with an idea and “something” here may refer to process, product or service. As innovation is always about bringing something new, there are two paths of this dimension of innovation:
    (a) Creating something new, unique, original. Starting something for the first time. It is basically like inventing the wheel.
    (b) Improving something that already exists in a way of making it better than it was before. This way innovation doesn’t have to be about reinventing the wheel.
  2. Creating value! Creating something new is not enough for the definition of innovation. There are a lot of new things that are of no use or have no value. Innovation always has a tangible outcome that has value. Innovation must be valued, which means that it meets real need or resolves a real life problem. This reflects on commercialization of the idea itself.
  3. Innovation is a process. It has it’s structure and involves multiple activities. It’s a result. It’s an outcome. It’s something you work towards achieving “something fresh”. Mostly is a team work, team of people of diverse knowledge and expertise working together to produce something fresh. Technology helped to overcome the geographical barriers with innovation management solution that allows you to gather team in online environment around some new challenge. By encouraging and acknowledging your people whenever they come up with a new idea, you create an environment, where innovation is a part of the everyday life and work. It has always future dimension and is a positive change.

Cell phone innovation
Innovation is the reason our lives have improved since the beginning of civilazation. Innovation always means progress and in this changing world progress is expected. As technology is now in every part of our lives, we do expect that next generation of our android or iOS smartphone, will have some new features, like a faster CPU, improved battery life, more pixels on camera. But we can’t all be scientists, engineers and developers to create something new. But we all have came up with some ideas about improving our performance at work in order to work better, faster, easier. If those ideas are implemented, that is a successful innovation.
There is a significant need for a simple approach to finding new ways of overcoming the challenges that modern society bringing and innovation is logical response on it. If you have some other point of view on this subject, please leave your definition of innovation or your anecdote of an innovation in action as a comment to this post.

Public education VS Creativity – Can you break the rules?

Creativity

Last year I started poll on LinkedIn addressing influence of Public education on our creativity. I posted well known Ken Robinson video and waited for the poll answers.

I was taken by surprise how much this topic is hot, and what contributions were left.

In this post I wish to share with you the brilliance of people involved in the discussion.

Enjoy!

“You have to know the rules before you can break them. All things will stifle your creativity or stimulate it to a certain degree and so in that sense, public education won’t kill creativity, but it will guide it towards something which is an acceptable norm within the constraints of established thinking. “

Ian Furniss • I think It’s a difficult question to give a definitive answer to. To some extent there will always be a need for formal education and a saying comes to mind which shows that “You have to know the rules before you can break them”. Could you be a Photoshop pro for example without actually knowing how to use it? No. You could certainly learn to use it without formal education of course, but that takes time and so I tend to see structured learning having an advantage up to a certain point. Where that point changes is in where you mention, thinking inside or outside boxes. Consider something like Partizan and Red Star, if you support one or the other it’s highly unlikely that you will convince an opposing supporter that yours is the team more worthy of support. That goes the same for ideas. When you have had a lifetime of indoctrination into a certain way of thinking, no matter how much you implore someone to “think outside the box”, what you are really looking for is for them to think within the constrains of your box. Could you have convinced Pavarotti that his talents were wasted and he should have been singing heavy rock? The only way to have free creativity is to abandon formal or public education and teach yourself. Even then, that will be limited by your own life experiences, the things which you like or dislike, each of which will influence your direction. At that point the conclusion I come to is that all things will stifle your creativity or stimulate it to a certain degree and so in that sense, public education won’t kill creativity, but it will guide it towards something which is an acceptable norm within the constraints of established thinking. As a caveat, I should add, it is still possible to do something that is seen as original within those constraints, but it is more likely to be an amalgamation or extension of already existing ideas i:e was rock & roll a new idea or was it an adaptation of R&B, blues, jazz, etc?

 “One should be careful with phrases like that old silly stuff of “deschooling society” the very expression of narcissistic intellectualism. Education is good by itself, schools too. We can certainly make them better and better.” 

Gabriel A. Ramirez • The question itself is tricky. In some way implies that education kills creativity. It puts education under suspect. A much better question is daniel Vauldrin’s and, perhaps an still a better one is: What ca one do to help education and educators to enhance, through educational systems, creativity even and more? One should be careful with phrases like that old silly stuff of “deschooling society” the very expression of narcissistic intellectualism. Or such a good music with lyrics that goes like this “… We don’t need no education, we don´t need school control. Teacher, teacher lives the kid alone” The authors of that music did never ever imagine that with that lyrics they were so massively contributing to today overabundance of “bricks in the wall” all over the world and specially in Britain. Education is good by itself, schools too. We can certainly make them better and better.

Job hiring: Much emphasis has been put on their having a degree, and less on what they bring to the table in regards to real experience, expertise, skills, and abilities.
Melanie Edwards • I am very fascinated by all the comments in this poll. I appreciate the broad spectrum of backgrounds and personalities that LinkedIn brings together for discussions such as this. I agree with much of what I am reading, and had my own “filters” in place when I first commented. For one, thinking in terms just the American public school system. Going beyond that, and outside of other “filters” i had in place, I can certainly appreciate the comments of Ian, Michelle and Vasco regarding stifling creativity in order to be compliant with a structure (my paraphrasing) — but want to take it further. In the USA, there are many people who have not completed their formal education to the point of securing a degree, for a variety of reasons. Some, may pick it back up later in life, some may not, again for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, the persons who are not degreed (I refuse to say uneducated, as that is NOT definitive in all cases) are most often “weeded” out of an interview process for jobs or even promotions, and passed by for someone who has a degree. It is common knowledge, as well, that few people in the USA work in their field of degree anyway. Much emphasis has been put on their having a degree, and less on what they bring to the table in regards to real experience, expertise, skills, and abilities. Our own corporate hiring practices throughout the USA award the people who have conformed to the point of securing a degree (any degree, often), and sometimes overlook the person who can offer the most to the company’s bottom line, top line, mission, and whole environment. IMHO.

 

“Freedom to self-determination leads to more creative behaviour!”

Ron Broens • Vitomir Rašić already shared the speech from Ken Robinson which explains that the current education set-up is not really supporting the development of creative skills and competencies. But also have a look at Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc . His speech is all about following your passions and making your own decisions for your education. Freedom to self-determination leads to more creative behaviour! The system requires change to become more effective in teaching skills that are more difficult to measure. Stay hungry, stay foolish!

 

I lost my independence of thought. So, along about 10 years of “professional career”, I ended up seeing that it was exactly those personal traces that were so much frowned upon that were actually valuable in the real world: autonomy of opinion, transversal thinking, imagination… the things I had to keep in a box in order to succeed in academia are the things society actually needs in order to survive and thrive.”

Vasco Névoa • Like Ian, I agree that we are first and foremost the sum of our experiences. Hence we cannot escape the shared experience that is school. It formats us, whether we like school or not. The deeper question is then: shouldn’t we be more than just that sum? We all believe that we should be capable of using all that experience in novel ways, by remixing it and re-contextualizing it, and we see the world becomes better when we do it. The problem is that this creative thinking implies “doing things differently”. Stepping outside the norm. And being different, like Michelle pointed out, is usually frowned upon in the academic world. It starts in the kindergarten and goes all the way up to college. If you act differently, you’re either weird or cheating. And this is one point where I’d like to make a positive criticism: not all cheating is bad. Some of it is quite creative. Some of it is creative enough to make a difference in the capacity for survival in extreme or unusual conditions (like, say, a global crisis?) Personally, I was always the “different” kind of student. Mostly I was just weird and sometimes loud-mouthed, and sometimes I felt I had to cheat to survive like anyone else. It was a very long and very tough fight, and by the time I finished college I thought I had won: I knew the system and more or less how to navigate it with moderate success. I kept my imagination to myself and just concentrated on being “compatible”, which made me an excellent asset for any company who was looking for a robotic humanoid to expand their production line. But in truth, I had lost. I lost my independence of thought. So, along about 10 years of “professional career”, I ended up seeing that it was exactly those personal traces that were so much frowned upon that were actually valuable in the real world: autonomy of opinion, transversal thinking, imagination… the things I had to keep in a box in order to succeed in academia are the things society actually needs in order to survive and thrive. I’ve been investing in my old self for the past few years, trying to recover that imaginative child that didn’t take “no” as an acceptable option. The good news is that I’m slowly getting there. The bad news is that there is a critical point of no return, at least apparently, and that others are not as lucky. Some of my classmates fared very well in academia, but very poorly outside. They forgot how to think independently, and worst of all they lost their self-confidence. I know some other people that just gave up their mind, transformed into a neural message recorder, a knowledge sponge, and are now capable of memorising just about anything you throw at them, but are utterly incapable of criticising what they have learned. These are the casualties of the “education war”, for we are at war with our nature when we force ourselves to memorise something we don’t even like. And they happen because school is a massive logistic system, and most people believe it must be managed as such, leaving no room for individuality — that would be too complex to manage. Criticising constructively, I believe that “cheating” must be revised. The system must welcome some forms of cheating. For example, if a student blatantly copies another student’s test by peeking over the shoulder, that’s plain stealing and no benefit comes from it. But if two or three students work together to split the heavy curriculum between themselves and share their knowledge during the exams, that’s actually very organised and competitive team work. The kind of successful team work that companies kill for. This is another aspect I think the schooling system has to seriously improve in the short term: promote self-reliance and individuality via team work. Less individual exams, more team challenges. And more group learning. Cramming 30 to 50 kids into the same classroom in front of a teacher is not group learning; they have to be able to experience the subject freely, to discuss, to debate, to contradict, to find the logic behind it — TOGETHER. This is what takes people to finding their place in society — a place where they feel useful, not the first place where they can survive. Like Melanie says, there are some fantastic teachers out there, I had some. Unfortunately they are fighting a loosing battle against the majority of bosses, colleagues, students, and parents. This positivism of believing in the individual student and bringing out its best personal features is something that has to be institutionalized, or we will just keep making humanoid robots. Which are defective by nature, in that role. Some of the “alternative” northern european and north-american schools have achieved this goal. But why are they viewed as the exception instead of an excellent example to follow? Because of logistics. It is far easier to control a system with a simplistic rule set, than it is to care for quality.

 

My final thought is that creativity and originality have to be valued. The older a student gets, the more difficult it is for that student to offer original insights without being laughed at. After being ridiculed a few times by peers, that student will most likely keep her mouth shut the next time she has an idea. It doesn’t matter how much encouragement she gets from her teacher, she will not share it. After a while, she might even stop getting those ideas. What’s the point anyway? On the other hand, what if students got marks for original ideas or clever ways of finding solutions? What if we really looked at the work in progress and not just the final outcome?”

Michelle Vaudrin • People go to school in the hopes of getting into the university and the program of their choice. So what do American students do to get into university? They study for the SATs. I have never written the SATs, so I would like to know the following: Does the SAT have a section to evaluate creativity? (If it can really be evaluated.) Does the test look at HOW the students got their answers, or is it only the end result that is looked at? As for Canadians, we have to get high grades. To get high grades, you have to give the teacher what the teacher wants. Yes, there are teachers who encourage creativity, curiosity, and spontaneous discussions. Just last week, I was teaching history/geography to grade 5 and 6 students, and we were really into the Canadian Shield and rock formation. I kept looking at my watch worried about not having enough time to finish my lesson. I found myself saying, “Ok, guys. We have to stop this discussion now. We still have all these pages to cover for today.” I felt disgusted with myself afterwards. As a teacher, I constantly feel this pressure to cover the whole government program. I also have the parents to worry about in the private sector. “What did you do in class today Johnny?” Imagine the parents’ faces when they hear, “Oh, we just looked at rocks and talked about them.” My final thought is that creativity and originality have to be valued. The older a student gets, the more difficult it is for that student to offer original insights without being laughed at. After being ridiculed a few times by peers, that student will most likely keep her mouth shut the next time she has an idea. It doesn’t matter how much encouragement she gets from her teacher, she will not share it. After a while, she might even stop getting those ideas. What’s the point anyway? On the other hand, what if students got marks for original ideas or clever ways of finding solutions? What if we really looked at the work in progress and not just the final outcome?

 

My original question was:

Can public education kill our creativity? (http://linkd.in/ehGsqy)

“Can educational frame limit us to thinking just within the “box”? Are we too much influenced by social paradigms that we cannot think outside them? http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms.html “
Vitomir
My question to you:  What can public education do to enhance creativity?

Where to look for breakthrough potential?

bittersweet

You want a breakthrough idea?

Don`t know where to look?

Well, hello Seeker! Your search may as well be over.

Based on somewhat controversial psychology theories of personality traits of first, middle and last born children i`ll make crucial connection between overall creativity and thinking outside the box to birth order and its effect on our careers.

Basically the birth order theory explains how our personality traits and lives are affected by simple order of birth. Whether you`re the oldest, youngest, huddled in the middle or only child – your family placement can somewhat determine your character, professional achievements and personal relationships.

Some scientists even go so far and say that even our lifelong thinking patterns are affected.

I could write down about 10 pages with all circumstances and environmental influences that determine whether this birth order impact will be in greater or lesser form, i could write down all researches done in last 100 years of Freud and Dr. Alfred Adler and their opposite fellow scientists utterly boring you to death, but ill just take a shortcut and say that it all comes down to these overall, general characteristics:

FIRSTBORN CHILDREN:

Personality:

Firstborns tend to be more conscientious. They are more ambitious than their younger siblings and often possess higher IQ. They are assertive, dominant and disciplined. They’re determined to succeed yet fearful of losing position and rank. They are defensive about errors and mistakes. They tend to be high achievers, reliable, well organized, critical, serious, scholarly, self- assured, good leadership abilities, eager to please and nurturing.

Research facts:

Typically, first born choose careers that involve precision so they are perfectionists by nature. The firstborn is often regarded as the success story in the family and they are extremely gifted to succeed in fields of : science, medicine, or law. Many first born choose careers in leadership. For example, over 50% of all U.S. presidents were first born. They are better educated, because if parents can afford to send one child to school, it’s more likely to be the first born. In history they dominated every field of knowledge because of scarce resources for education of all siblings, but in recent time that huge investment difference between older and younger children is drastically lessened.

Creativity:

Vast majority of Nobel prize winners are firstborns, so they dominated all fields of human development. That was also a result of scarce resources deployed in families only to firstborns, so they were better educated and favored. There are exceptions offcourse, Isaac Newton, Steven Spielberg, Che Guevara are perfect examples.

All firstborns are closely related to incremental improvements and are developing their ideas inside the boundaries of social paradigms. Rarely they thread beyond them. They are praetorian guard of status quo.

Famous eldest children include:

Oprah, Hilary and Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, all actors who played James Bond, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Albert Einstein, Sally Ride, Bill Cosby, Steven Spielberg, Joan Collins, Mikhail Gorbachev, Saddam Hussein, Joseph Stalin, Mussolini, Che Guevara, Carlos the Jackal, Isaac Newton.

MIDDLE CHILDREN:

Personality:

They are mysterious, peacekeeping, less decisive, diplomatic, with excellent people skills, easy going, flexible, competitive. Torn between parents affection and requirements and incapability to determine own aspirations they are more confused in early stage than any. Later on they tend to adopt firstborn frame of living, or complete opposite to firstborn in final identity build of.

Research facts:

They generally earn less per year than firstborns and youngest children (although you would not think this looking to famous middle child list) . With good negotiating and people skills they are brilliant in diplomacy and government bodies, nursing, law enforcement, all technology based fields. Sales and marketing, public relations and journalism are their fields of interest.

Creativity:

Middle children can be very creative, but overall, they too tend to stay in boundaries of social paradigms. In creativity they are following firstborns nature.

Famous middle children include:

Bill Gates, J.F.K., Madonna and Princess Diana, David Letterman, Richard Nixon, Bea Arthur, Glenn Close, Matt Dillon, Linda Evans, Jessica Lange, Cyndi Lauper, Tom Selleck, Mary Decker Slaney, George Burns and Bob Hope, George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, George Bush, Damon Hill, Cindy Crawford, Robert Graves, Tony Blair and Edward Elgar, Nikola Tesla.

LATERBORN CHILDREN

Personality:

If there is any birth placement that exists for breaking social rules and paradigms it is this one. The later born child always has someone ahead of them to compete against. Constant struggle to be in limelight, tendency to question authorities and status quo makes them biggest stirrers in life. They know no boundaries, they are adventurous, idealists, hard working, immature, secretive and sensitive. They are charming, with good sense of humor and great manipulation skill. They’ll be outrageous or funny as a power strategy in the family. In addition, laterborn`s are more extravert than firstborns in the specific sense of being fun-loving, excitement seeking, and sociable.

Research facts:

These children are more likely to be an artist, adventurer or entrepreneur– and more likely to participate in physically risky sports. Laterborn children are more likely to be comedians or satirists. Laterborns are successful in journalism, advertising, sales and the arts. Careers in sales, or invention corporations work well because of their ability to sell things, including themselves, work well alone, want to be the boss, and just do their own thing at their own pace. They are excellent in field of information technology.

Creativity:

They try to establish a place for themselves separate from their older siblings, and so tend to be more creative.

They generally seek to develop alternative and unoccupied aspirations within the family system, a process that seems to involve a predilection for experimentation and openness to experience.

They are more open especially in the questioning of family values or the authority of their elders. If breakthrough idea is vaguely defined as thinking out of the boundaries of social paradigms and norms, laterborns are masters of this ability.

Famous laterborn children include:

Nicholas Copernicus, Charles Darwin, Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Jim Carrey, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Cameron Diaz and Rosie O’Donnell, Howard Stern, Jay Leno, Ralph Nadar, Bill Gates, and Danny DeVito , Eddie Murphy, Harriet Tubman, Gandi, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain, Ronald Reagan, Paul Newman, Mary Lou Retton, Yogi Bera, Ted Kennedy and Kevin Leman, Joan of Arc, Leon Trotsky, Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, George Michael and Sir Laurence Olivier, Jerry Springer

 

Only children:

Personality:

People without siblings fell somewhere between firstborns and laterborns on most personality measures, but they were no more open to experience than were firstborns.

Only children have similar characteristics to firstborns and are frequently burdened with high parental expectations.

They are also achievement-oriented, successful in school and have problems delegating work. Research shows they are more confident, articulate and imaginative than other children. They also hate criticism and tend to be perfectionists.

Onlies are generally super responsible, confident and get along great with adults. They often have the heightened sense of right and wrong. Only children seem to be very on top of things, articulate, and mature. Although they appear to have it all together and have many achievements, they regularly have a hard time enjoying their achievements. They are often labeled as spoiled, selfish, lazy and a bit conceited because the only child does not have to share with other siblings.

Research facts:

Despite the fact that only children are used to having things handed to them all their lives, they are among the top achievers in every area of profession.

Creativity:

Like laterborns, they are regularly spoiled, according to Adler, and have a hard time when they don’t get their own way. School can be a particularly difficult transition, as they’re used to being the center of the familial universe. But all that parental focus pays off. Only children are often mature for their age. They wow people with their vocabularies, and their comfort in adult circles. Plus, all that self-entertaining fosters creativity.

Famous only children include:

Rudy Guiliani, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alan Greenspan, Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova and Leonardo Da Vinci. Jack Welch, Charles Lindbergh, Ted Koppel, Brooke Shields, Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Danielle Steele and John Updike

 

History research:

 

In the history of science, birth order has often played a role during times of radical theory change. Nicholas Copernicus and Charles Darwin, René Descartes and Francis Bacon were all laterborns, and all pioneers in their fields. They challenged and tested scientific paradigms as well as religious dogma, and made breakthrough theories that changed science foundation. Often ridiculed and shunned, their mark was unquestioned. Even when firstborns have initiated major revolutions in science–such as those led by Isaac Newton, Antoine Lavoisier, and Albert Einstein–the earliest supporters of these revolutions have tended to be laterborns.

Nevertheless, firstborns and laterborns are each capable of creativity and innovation, but in different ways. In particular, firstborns tend to create within the system, whereas laterborns are more likely to create by questioning the status quo (breaking the rules).

Although, by looking just to famous birth order examples doubt comes naturally. Keep in mind that these magnificent representatives are overall rare and valuable humanity assets and therefore exceptions by default.

To Frank Sulloway, a science historian at MIT, it’s no coincidence that Darwin was the fifth of six kids in his family, or that Agassiz who opposed him was the firstborn in his. As Sulloway spent two decades gathering data on thousands of people involved in historic controversies from the Copernican revolution to the Protestant Reformation in his book titled “”Born to Rebel” he suggests that “the foremost engine of historical change” is not the church, state or economy but family structure.

Sulloway made a compelling case that firstborns, whatever their age, sex, class or nationality, specialize in defending the status quo while laterborns specialize in toppling it.

The lastborns in Sulloway’s survey were 18 times more likely to take up left-wing causes than to get involved in conservative ones, such as the temperance movement. To him, 80-year-old laterborns were still more receptive than 30-year-old firstborns.

Laterborns were five times more likely than firstborns were to support the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions–and nine times more likely to embrace phrenology. Not surprisingly, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were all laterborns, as were Leon Trotsky, Fidel Castro, Yasir Arafat and Ho Chi Minh. “

 

In conclussion,

Birth order can be perceived as determinant of the domain and style of creative eminence and innovation. From the creative perspective firstborns are most likely to gravitate to those areas of creativity that impose greater constraints on the creator, whereas laterborns are more prone to enter creative activities where the constraints are fewer and conformity to norms less expected. Within science as i mentioned, revolutionary scientists who overthrow traditional paradigms are more likely to be laterborns, whereas firstborns have a higher likehood of making contributions that fit within the received scientific paradigm or tradition. So by my opinion if you want incremental improvements and innovation you should seek firstborns, and if you want to generate ideas and products that are true market impact (breakthrough), you will have greater chance with a laterborn.

 

Innovation Post