Creativity is basically innovation; there really is minimal difference. For whatever reason, we prefer to use creativity when we are speaking of anything in relation to the arts, usually on a smaller scale; whereas, we prefer innovativeness when we’re addressing industries.
Or is it that we use innovation when the product is to be sold and used by consumers, and use creativity when the product is made purely for the pleasure of utilization?
The truth is, the greatest engineers, inventors, CEOs and other visionaries rely on their creativity to take their product from good to great. Likewise, the greatest artists aren’t simply great because they’re creative, but also because they are innovative – even if only using an innovative technique or medium. Although many will distinguish between creativity and innovation, I feel that they are two sides of the same coin.
These creative/innovative individuals are able to accomplish great things. However, staying creative and innovative takes a whole lot of focus and some smart thinking. All these individuals have secrets behind their success. Here are seven of them:
1. They never immediately write something off as a bad idea.
We are generally inclined to pass judgment before we have a clear understanding of what or whom we are judging. When we meet new people, we judge them the second we meet them. We often judge food by its look or smell, before even tasting it. We judge everything we come in contact with regularly and we tend to do so in the first minute.
We do the same to our ideas. When an idea flashes, we automatically label it. It’s either good, bad, silly, dumb, ridiculous, great, etc. No matter how complex the idea, we judge it almost immediately. We will often label an idea as bad before fully considering all the possibilities that may result because of the idea. Some of the best ideas often seem bad at first glance.
2. However, they do accept a bad idea for a bad idea when it is a bad idea.
Not all ideas are born equal – many of them, even under tremendous scrutiny, will still suck. These ideas have to be discarded. However, sometimes an idea we believed was great, after several trials, turns out to be crap. This happens. Letting go of that idea, however, is easier said than done. We take pride in our ideas when we believe them to be good. Them proving to be bad feels like an attack on us directly. An idea is an idea. They have no existence outside of you, but aren’t you. Let the bad ones go and move onto better ones.
3. They write things down.
Too many ideas are lost along the way to greatness. I feel that now that we all have smartphones, very few people carry around pen and paper. I’ve also found that writing notes on your phone doesn’t always do the trick. If you have no issue saving notes on your phone, great, but if you are more likely to actually write down ideas on a pad then get yourself a pad.
Ideas are a horrible thing to waste, so when you get one, write it down. You may think you will remember it, but you are guaranteed not to. You have ideas every second of every day. Good luck trying to keep track of all of them.
4. They are open to hearing other people out.
The creatively innovative, or innovatively creative, if you prefer, understand that a good idea is a good idea no matter where or who it comes from. Regardless of whether you are creating art or a business, you are not going to be buying your own product, everyone else will.
That’s why it’s best to get opinions from other people. Not every opinion will be a good one, but there is no shame in hearing people out -- maybe they actually will come up with something decent. Even if they don’t, you never know what great idea may come out of one of their awful ones. Consider them creative stimulation.
5. They always stick to their gut.
At the end of the day, their work is the product of their labor and therefore should reflect their decisions. Sometimes we simply have to decide in what we, ourselves, believe is right -- even if others don’t agree. If you’re the one steering the ship, then you better be happy with the direction you're heading. Some of the riskiest, most gut-shot ideas are those that have the biggest impact.
In fact, innovativeness especially relies on those groundbreaking, almost impossible ideas. You don’t want to miss out on having one of those… so if you believe you’ve got the right idea, then go with it until you’re either sure it works or sure it doesn’t.
6. They pay attention to details without losing sight of the whole.
Beauty is in the details, but without form, the details lose their beauty from a distance. We don’t always look at everything close up, especially not these days. Paying attention to the smallest of details is very important; it builds beauty and perfection from the ground up.
However, the larger the project grows, the more layers it has, the more moving pieces, the more important it is to keep things organized and symmetrical. Well laid-out details are necessary for great work.
7. They keep their mind at ease, allowing it to wander wherever it so wishes.
This is probably the most difficult part. Because creativeness and innovativeness rely on ideas, it’s the flow of ideas that is crucial. We need to experience a constant, free and unhampered flow of ideas. We want ideas to be able to bounce around from thought to thought without hitting too many walls or running through sludge.
Because our lives cause a lot of noise, it can be very difficult to allow the mind to generate ideas, especially good ones. The most innovative and creative individuals all have ways of calming their minds and focusing on the task at hand. Only with calmness and focus can you reach your full creative and innovative potential.
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