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Innovative solutions – where did they come from?

The status quo is never enough. It is human nature to grow, to evolve, to change – to be creative. As the global economy becomes ever more competitive, winners and losers are determined as much by their creativity as by their productivity. We are all looking for the ‘next big idea.’ So, how do we find it?

First of all, we have to ask ourselves – where do innovative solutions come from? Do they come from experts who have dedicated their lives to studying each and every detail of a given field? After all, most of the world’s great advances in medicine came from doctors, and most great advances in physics from physicists. So, does it take years of intensive education to become creative? That doesn’t seem quite right.

Perhaps creativity comes from teamwork? Perhaps it’s the back-and-forth between people with different personalities, skills, and experiences that creates new and innovative ideas. Indeed, while individuals may have ideas, it’s creative teams that turn such ideas into working solutions. In other words, Steve Jobs may have come up with the iPhone, but he didn’t build it himself!

Or, more broadly, is it civilization itself the drives creativity? Is innovative inertia so strong as to drive us forward, whether we like it or not? To a certain extent, that would seem to be the case. As much as we all lament the consequences of our high-tech lives, we continue to move forward at breakneck speed. Perhaps the drive to innovate is so deeply ingrained in our DNA that we simply cannot resist it.

Though it may be impossible to definitively answer such philosophical questions, they do raise a number of more practical issues. How do we fulfill our relentless need to innovate? As the world moves from ‘products’ to ‘solutions,’ how can you foster creativity in your business?