I’m not sure if public sentiment has changed or if I’m simply more attuned to it right now. But ever since the publication of Jonah Lehrer’s book “Imagine: How Creativity Works,” there seems to be a rash of seemingly contrarian articles with titles suggesting creativity or innovation have to happen in a certain way to be successful.

Recent examples have included “If You’re Not Pissing Someone Off, You’re Probably Not Innovating” from the Harvard Business Review, “Sustainable Innovation Stems from Individuals, Not a Group” via Fast Company, and "Failure Is the Only Path to Innovation" on the Innovation Excellence blog.

Typically, when these articles appear, someone will ask me what I think about them.

My response?

I’m bored with all these authors claiming successful innovation HAS TO happen in the way they espouse.

C’mon. We’re talking about creativity and innovative thinking here people. These two wonderful things (or experiences or phenomena or processes or whatever you want to call them) are so glorious BECAUSE there are so many ways you can realize them:

Okay, I’m definitely not Dr. Seuss, but I hope you get my point. If you’re a creative genius, go ahead and be individually, singularly creative and never look back.

If you don’t consider yourself a creative genius, then surround yourself with other people, tools, and inspirations to help you be more creative. That’s the stuff I write about here, because I’ve used these techniques and have experience with them working successfully.

If someone wants to share another way innovative ideas originate, I’m all about hearing what they have to share.

But if they’re going to simply point out how successful innovation can only happen in a certain way (or how it won’t happen in some other way), well, then I’m just not that interested.

What do you think?

Does innovation only work one way for you and your organization? – Mike Brown

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