Several recent events prompt this post, a post I've never really felt compelled to write.

After the Intrepid podcast discussion with Todd Schnick about the distinction between creativity and innovation, a follow-up email from Chuck Dymer quoting  John Adair's categorization of creation and innovation, and Saturday's #Ideachat about what constitutes creativity, I guess it's time to just come out and say it:

I don't spend time seeking out, reading, or thinking about "creativity" and "innovation" definitions.

Creativity and Innovation - Do they define you? Do you define them?

Don't take my comment to mean I haven't spent any time defining these words for innovation and creativity presentations I do.

But in a world where so many forces seem hell bent on stifling creativity and innovation, complex and rigid definitions of these terms seem more likely to contribute to stifling than instigating them.

Creativity Seems to Be Lots of Things

For example, it was fascinating during #Ideachat when the various "creativity" definitions ranged from portraying creativity as an act, a result, an inherited talent, a learned ability, to a place (i.e., side or location) in the brain. And there were probably other variations I didn't even catch.

Several of these creativity definitions make it pretty easy for people who are so inclined to say, "Heck, I'll never be creative."

And that, my friends, sucks.

It sucks for the people who give up on creativity and innovation because it robs them of a lot of the excitement of life.

It also sucks when your career is focused on trying to get all kinds of people excited and open to using their knowledge and talents to come up with new ideas.

When Creativity Is a Perspective, It's Attainable by Everyone

That's why the creativity definition Jan and I used considers creativity as a "perspective." It's damn near impossible for anyone to say they can't embrace and exhibit a perspective. And in those very precious situations working with clients on how to make their organizations (and their team members) better, you can't afford for someone to let themselves off the hook when it comes to being creative and innovative!

What do you think? What do creativity and innovation mean for you? – Mike Brown


The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at or call us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you devise a successful innovation strategy for your organization.