CreO - Creativity: A necessity for innovation


One of the great challenges of business innovation is having access to valuable ideas. Ideas are the cornerstone of innovation. Without them, we could perhaps optimise or improve what already exists, but we could never innovate. It is a determining asset for a business, a scarce asset, difficult to find and control . . . Or is it?

As we already discussed in our article Diversity for Innovation, the innovation capacity of an organisation depends to a great extent on its people. It depends on the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes which individuals bring to bear when confronted with problems. They are intangibles which condition a person’s way of perceiving reality and how they take action, and, of course, the way they offer creative solutions when developing products and services, processes or business models. 

Therefore, the higher the number of people who participate in the innovation process, the greater chance there is of collecting a variety of responses. Where one person sees a limitation, someone else may detect an opportunity; the end of something could be transformed into a beginning and when it comes to taste, to each his own! A diversity of profiles favours the generation of valuable ideas which give rise to disruptive innovations. This is even more true when this diversity is made up of creative people, by individuals who have the ability to contribute original, valuable ideas, as Punset says “with the sweat of their brains”. 
As De Bono and Robinson, the gurus of innovation, have been asserting for years, creativity is not some fanciful intangible that is out of our control. It is not a gift which has been bestowed upon a select few nor a moment of enlightenment. It is an intellectual process which requires practice and dedication. Hence, Picasso’s famous phrase: “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”, a truth which Creative and Cultural Industry (CCI) professionals know all too well. 
Activities such as videogame design, journalism, fashion, architecture, writing, web programming, graphic design, advertising and many others in the CCI sector depend on the ability of their professionals to generate valuable ideas. As the Austrian study The Role of Creative Industries in Industrial Innovation (Kathrin Müller et al.) demonstrates, this creative capacity is one of the factors which gives the CCI sector the highest levels of innovation. This is a reality that also favours innovation in other sectors, including the industrial sector, as is pointed out in the study. 
The evidence and the belief that creative profiles can be a driver of innovation in other sectors have inspired the CreO project. It is an initiative that aims to develop and validate the necessary methodology and tools to integrate students on Vocational Education and Training courses related to the CCIs into innovation processes within the industrial sector. It affirms that the intellectual work of people with these creative profiles is a winning formula for extracting valuable ideas. However, this is not only because of their ability to offer ideas, but also because they contribute to the development of synergies which unleash the creativity of the professionals within a business. 
We can take control of creativity. And we must do so if we intend to develop disruptive innovations which go beyond optimisation or improvement of what already exists. It is a challenge which becomes easier if businesses open their doors to the knowledge and the experience of those who deal with the world of ideas and creative thought, if they integrate people with specific CCI profiles into their innovation processes.  

Edward De Bono. Creative thinking. 
Eduard Punset. La creatividad en la vida cotidiana (Creativity in daily life). Redes (documentary)
Ken Robinson. Do schools kill creativity? Ted talk.
The Role of Creative Industries in Industrial Innovation. K. Müller. C. Rammer, J. Trüby.