Myths Surrounding Innovation

“There are myths surrounding creativity. The intangible nature of creativity does not lend itself to easy definition”. Introduction The intangible nature of creativity does not have a specific definition for it. However, creativity can refer to many things that differ and which also over laps many other elements. (jjenna: 2003). “creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize idea, alternatives, or possibilities that may be used to solving problems, communicating with other, and entertaining ourselves and others”(Robert E. Franken: 2002).

It also depends on the nature of the person what are his/her characteristics, thinking power and the artistic ability. It is said that managers equate innovation with creativity, but creativity comes with innovation; creativity is just an idea and innovation is carrying out the idea and turning it into a business and providing it to the market (Vijay govindarajan: 2010). There is not a one specific definition for innovation. “Technically innovation is defined merely as introducing something new” (Jeff Dance: 2008), it does not concern how well or admirable the innovation is as long it is better than what it was.

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It is most likely that innovation is a narrower concept than creativity. I believe if there is no creativity then there is no innovation. It is the human nature than make them feel they are not creative enough that is why there are different myths and mis-understanding and have failed to provide one convincing definition. It is proven that creative people are complex as it also states creativity is complex; people who are complex have the habit of showing thoughts and actions that others set apart (Scoot Barry Kauffman: 2011).

The seven myths discussed in this essay are: the smarter you, the more creative you are, if u don’t express creativity ate a certain age it’s too late, alcohol and drugs will make you more creative, time pressure fuels creativity, money is a creativity motivator, creativity come from creative people, creativity is just one eureka moment. The first myth states “The smarter you are, the more creative you are” (Constantine Andriopoulos & Patrick Dawson: 2009 pg 19/20) this is not necessarily true; you don’t have to be smart however you need to have ertain knowledge. There is now instant access to any information through the internet, but to innovate something and create something you need to be highly educated and smart they say (Amabile: 1996). An example would be of the greatest scientist Albert Einstein who had proved the theory of relativity. He was not from a very educated background and was experiencing speech difficulties in his early days. He used to work six days a week on his scientific theories at the age of 26 (Jennifer Rosenberg: 20th century).

The other example is of Michael Angelo who was a well known painter, sculpture, architect and a poet; he had no interest in schooling neither any interest in his family’s financial business. He used to go visit the church and see the people painting and drawing that gave him some knowledge about it (www. biography. com/michealangelo). These scientist and painters were not smart all they had was a little knowledge on what they were doing that made them so creative. Whereas Michael Angelo is concerned he didn’t need to smart to paint all he needed were a little knowledge and an idea to express it through art.

The second myth states that “If you don’t express creativity by a certain age it’s too late” (Therese Cator: creative minds). This is clearly not true; there is no age to show what your creative about. Although some people find out their inner ability of being creative a little late, but it does not mean they cannot express it when they pass a certain age. For eg: Anna Mary Robertson Moses also known as ‘Grandma Moses’ who was a well-known artist, she became a public attention in 1940 at the age 80, where she has started painting in a natural way, drawing from her memory and painting on Americans rural sceneries.

Furthermore, she had no training and did it because she enjoyed doing it, all this started after she had retired from a career in embroidery because of arthritis (Silent Reed: 2013). However I believe people tend to realize their creativeness after a certain age, when they are free are figure out what they enjoy doing enables them to bring out their creativeness and draw up a picture in their mind. People get de motivated after listening to people saying ‘it’s too late or you have passed that age’ which makes them even more less confidence which does not let them become creative. One is never too old to succeed in life” – Anna Mary Robertson Mosses The third myth states that “Alcohol and Drugs will make you more creative” (Therese Cator: creative minds). I personally don’t believe that’s true: people have a psychological effect that makes them feel that when they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol they became creative. It is proven to be shown that people under the influence of drugs and alcohol become creative only because the stimulants creates the illusion of creativity (Mark Smith – 2010).

This makes people feel that they are creative and this creativity of theirs does not remain for long and can stifle. I believe the idea of being creative after consuming alcohol and drugs tempts musicians and artists to try and instead results in an early loss of life or when they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol their behaviour changes and also takes them into deeper thoughts convincing them to suicide or overdose themselves. A clear example would be of the famous Elvis Presley who was known as the king of rock and roll, who had died of overdosing himself with drugs on the 16th of August 1977.

At first people thought it was just a heart attack, later it was found that the reason of his death was because of a massive drug overdose (www. unsolved. com/Elvis Presley). “Elvis Presley woke up on the 16th of August, premeditated, planned, took and killed himself deliberately” – David Stanley. Nevertheless, there are celebrities who have overcome these dug problems and are still creative and famous. For instance the famous rapper Ben Haggerty also known as Macklemore who had also started drinking and dabbling into drugs, he also claimed “I don’t have moderation when using drugs and alcohol.

It got to the point where it was hurting my life, my potential”. He then entered rehab and sobered himself up in 2008 and now his having the UK’s biggest- selling single (Siam Goorwich: 2013). Celebrities easily get tempted with the fact that it makes you creative and bring out the best out of you, which is clearly untrue, thus a myth. The Fourth myth states that “Time pressure fuels creativity” (Bill Breen: 2004) this is clearly made up from someone. I cannot think of anything creative when there is time pressure.

People tend to take bad decisions in hurry which leads bad consequences and i feel are the least creative. In one of the research it is shown that people who work under great pressure fail to be creative on that day and also the next two days as well (Bill Breen: 2004). This does not allow people to engage in the problem properly and are unable to come up with a better idea. To be creative it is necessary to concentrate on the particular problem, let the problem soak into your brain completely and then let the ideas flow out, thus creativity need preparation time (Bill Breen: 2004).

An example to support this myth would be of Sir Isaac Newton who was one of the greatest scientists; he also impressed many people with his knowledge on bible. His most famous theories he discovered was the motion and gravitation, thus known as the “apple story”. He was able to discover his theories when he had the eighteen months gap when his school was shut due to the plague in the summer 1665 (Chris Pinaire: last visited 29/7/13). Therefore, no expert can be creative under time pressure even the world’s renowned scientists took eighteen months to discover his theories on motion and gravity.

The fifth myth states that “Money is a creativity motivator” (Bill Breen: 2004) this myth is also very much untrue. Creativity comes from within one’s self and the only motivation for creativity is by verbal motivation. A person presenting his creativeness and ideas should be recognised by others and supported in order to be motivated. Studies suggest that many people said that money isn’t everything and it is not relevant on a daily basis.

For those who want to show their creativeness’s they do not need any money all they need is a little confidence to show what they are capable of. Individuals who work towards money feel that their works performance will affect their compensation are most likely to be less creative. They should be happy with their compensation they receive and research has also shown that workers are more creative when they are interested on their work and are able to extend their skills (Bill Breen: 2004).

An example to illustrate this myth would be of the website Flickr. Ludicorp the inventors of flickr had before started a online multiplayer gaming software in the year 2002-3, after about an year they realised on the software they had created there was this chat that enables gamers to share pictures and videos and they thought even though they got this big gaming software, they decided to get rid of it and make the sharing of pictures and videos into a big business so that’s how flickr was invented (Scott Berkun: 2008).

So the above example clearly states that although ludicorp was making profits out of the gaming business, but still decided to go ahead with their creative idea and started the flickr business with confidence. Therefore money was not a motivating factor that had driven them to start flickr. “Creativity takes courage” – Henry Matrissa The sixth myth state that “Creativity comes from creative people” (Bill Breen: 2004) is not true at all. Everyone has the capabilities to become creative; it takes knowledge, skills and experience.

This specially happens in organisations where the managers feel that only certain employees in the organisation are creative like in marketing and research and development departments and the rest of them aren’t like in the accounting and human resource department, if the leaders itself feel they are not creative enough then there are barriers to creativity in which the employees are unable to tap their creative potential, thus reducing the success of the business (Bill Breen: 2008).

People also judge people in not being creative if they are not from a creative background and not anywhere in the creative field. There instances where somewhere is doing something creative and a very negative comment is given towards that creativity which results in that persons potential being dropped and loses confidence, but not all people lose hope after being rejected some keep trying until they where they want to be An example to challenge this myth would be Steve Jobs who is a university dropout and was not anywhere creative neither had a creative background until he started at hewlitt-packard.

While working there he came up with this idea of personal computers and shared his idea with Hewlitt-Packard and wanted them to build the personal computer unfortunately they had rejected his idea. What so ever, he never gave up on his idea and started with his friend Steve Wozniak to build the personal computer and came up with apple (Scott Berkun: 2008). Therefore, no matter how negative comments and rejections you get about your creativeness or idea , Steve Jobs never gave up on his idea and passion and had his company apple bigger and better than hewlitt-packard. Be a yardstick of quality, some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected” – Steve Jobs. The seventh myth “Creativity is just one eureka moment” (Harold Evans: 2005) this is the type of myth that people have a strong belief in. They tend to wait for an eureka moment to come rather than tapping their creative side and bringing out the artistic within them. When an individual is working on a particular work and is unable to solve it, working for days and keeps thinking about the work in order to find a solution to it and finally when he brain realizes what that work process was all about and in the end the solution for that work problem is all clear in your mind, that is when the eureka moment happens (Wikipedia). Although Archimedes did have is eureka moment that was not true, he was already an intelligent person and he was already working on finding a solution. He simply kept his mind open and was thoughtful and observing and taking time to connect the puzzle when he finally connected the puzzle he screamed eureka (Andre Durand: 2013).

An example to confront this myth is Henry Ford although he did not have his eureka moment, but he was creative enough to come with the assemble line idea after failing twice with two automobile companies (Robert Greene: 2012). In order to get back to business he was working out an efficient way to start his ford company and he identified the root and paid attention to every step he took his way along and that’s how he came up with assembly line idea which now plays an important part in the manufacturing and producing of automobiles in the world (Jackie Lorch: 2012).

Moreover, no one can become creative over an eureka moment, everyone has the capabilities of becoming creative, but that does not mean everybody is Picasso. It is a process that people think through about and finally get the bigger picture after sometime, thus leading to success. To conclude I would like to say being creative is a competitive advantage for any organisation to compete with other businesses.

In order to get rid of the misunderstanding and myths people need to believe in them that they are capable of being creative and managers should encourage every department in their organisation to come up with creative idea’s resulting to innovation. Now that people are concentrating on innovation management, creativity is also playing an important role and researchers and trying to make it less complex, thus reducing the myths surrounding creativity.