Innovation and creativity are not the same thing. This might not come as a big revelation, but too often companies treat the two as if they're one and the same. Here's a simple way to tell the difference: If you can measure it, it's innovation. This week's lead Searchlight item talks about the metrics you can use for managing innovation, starting with the importance of using a common language when crafting ideas into innovations.
Common language is a key first step, author Drew Marshall says, because your employees who have the biggest ideas might not technically be your innovators. They might have the ideas but not know what to do with them. Top companies like Google famously set aside time for employees to explore innovation -- but what they're really encouraging, Marshall contends, is that necessary first step -- some free time for minds to wander. Creativity precedes innovation.
Last summer at the Gartner Inc. Catalyst conference in San Diego, I joined a packed hall of IT leaders who sat in rapt attention during a keynote address from famed graffiti artist (and former entrepreneur) Erik Wahl. Bounding around the stage and through the audience, he encouraged people to remember and embrace the creative freedom of their youth, pausing only to paint perfect pieces of pop art before their eyes. The audience exploded into a standing ovation, which to me translated as "Yes! Get me a canvas!" There was definitely a buzz, and maybe that buzz carried people through the day. Maybe it was just the pep talk some of them needed to get their creative juices flowing again. Here's hoping that back home, those big ideas were met with the guidance needed to transform them into real-life innovations.
Check out SearchCIO's own coverage of
Boston CIO uniting citizens and the city through gamification
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Cracking the big data analysis code
Before you run out and buy a set of oil paints, check out the rest of this week's roundup which includes a look at perhaps the most critical battle in the data wars -- the next killer mobile app, why Facebook is so last year and more.
- Your employees are simply endless founts of creativity, but the world will never know it unless you know about managing innovation.
- Data doesn't get much bigger than this. Forget about companies owning information that helps them target you as a consumer; next week the Supreme Court will consider whether companies can own and patent human genes.
- Teenagers sick of something? Can't be! It's not surprising that teens are tiring of Facebook; but for the sake of knowing your future customers and employees, it's useful to note that a new study shows they're drifting from traditional social networking altogether.
- Once just considered a cheap alternative to texting, messaging may be emerging as "the killer app in mobile." It's those darn teenagers again. (This may shed some light on Facebook Home.)
- Don't view these findings about consumer shopping preferences as an excuse to keep your mobile e-commerce app on the back burner. Read the article, take a deep breath and get back to work!
- For once when the government is accused of playing games, it can take pride in the barb -- it's using gamification to improve the nation.
Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, Features Writer.
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Karen Goulart, Senior Features Writer asks:
Does your company have a strategy for managing innovation?
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