Creativity & Innovation – Important in Business Today?

Creativity & Innovation – Important in business today?

Prepared by Olivia Smith
Master of Marketing, Swinburne University Melbourne


The term ‘creativity’ is very open to interpretation, which probably goes some way toward explaining why it is rarely understood and instigated in a business setting.

Mednick (1962) painfully defines creativity as ‘the forming of associative elements into new combinations which either meet specified requirements or are in some way useful. The more mutually remote the elements of the new combination, the more creative the process or solution’. In layman’s terms: creativity is taking concepts and combining them to form something new and useful. The more ‘out of left field’ the new concept is, the more creative. This definition is a brave attempt at applying metrics to creativity, however, most noticeably, it neglects a key façade of the creative process which is creating something from nothing – concepts that demonstrate intrinsic originality.

By its very nature, creativity (not unlike the term art), cannot be confined to a definition given to it by conventional business ideology. It is free and unbridled; it takes on many forms, and it cannot always be produced on demand. To draw an analogy – creativity needs freedom like sex needs mood lighting. It’s no wonder so many companies get it wrong.

The most apt description of creativity I can offer is this: creativity is mental productivity; thinking that is productive in that it evolves a concept further. The reason it takes on so many forms is because mental productivity can be expressed or demonstrated in any imaginable way – through art, music, literature, technology, movement, mathematics, science – literally anything. Creativity is the inception point of a host of more advanced forms it takes on – one being art, and another being innovation. You can’t produce an innovation, without first thinking creatively.


Innovation as a term...