Creativity, Innovation, and Change and the Knowledge Economy

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  • 0:07 What Michelangelo and…
  • 1:12 Creativity, Innovation…
  • 2:30 The Knowledge Economy
  • 3:30 So What's the Big Deal?
  • 5:13 How Do You Do It?
  • 6:15 Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rob Wengrzyn

Rob has an MBA in management, a BS in marketing, and is a doctoral candidate in organizational theory and design.

In business, one has to be creative and innovative in order to stay ahead of the competition. Having said that, one also needs to be able to manage change, as the business world changes on a constant basis. This lesson will address each of these topics and explain how they interrelate to business.

What Michelangelo and Bell Can Teach Us

It is easy to see how one might not think that Michelangelo was a smart guy - creative, yes, but smart? Well, that's open to discussion. After all, he was a brilliant painter, but that is really all he's known for. Back in the day (let's be honest), being smart was equated with knowing which leech to pick for bloodletting and making sure your neighbor was not a witch. Therefore, we had a lot of creativity from old Michelangelo, but not a lot of innovation.

Michelangelo was known for being a brilliant painter.

When we look at innovation, we think of people like Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone. Pretty smart guy if I say so myself. However, it can be argued he was also creative - as he designed a product to fill a need that people at that time didn't really know they needed. The Pony Express was fine, and talking was reserved for church meetings and social gatherings. Alexander not only was creative and innovative, but he also pushed for change to help move the world forward. When looking at business from this perspective, it's important that a manager has the ability to harness these three areas and work with them to be a market leader.

Creativity, Innovation and Driving Change

The reason we use Michelangelo and Bell as examples is that it's important to distinguish between being creative, innovative and yet still a driver of change. These three areas are the cylinders in the engine of modern business. Without them, business would stay stagnant and not really move forward. Oh sure, we would have some inventions or new products, but all those inventions and new products are driven by someone first being creative, then being innovative and finally wanting to drive or create change.

You see, Michelangelo was creative but not innovative in a business sense, and he did not drive change. He was content with his creativity, and to his defense, that is all he was supposed to do (as he was a painter), but Bell took that creative thought process a step further.

So why all this talk about creativity, innovation and change? You see, in the modern business world, it is not enough to be creative. Thinking of new ways of doing things or developing a new product is great, but that creativity has to be married (if you will) to innovation. There used to be an old saying that you 'build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.' That is still somewhat true, but now that better mousetrap has to be innovative and drive change, or it simply will not get accepted by people in the market.

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
Alexander Graham Bell

The Knowledge Economy

The knowledge economy can be defined as a formal structure of consumption and production that is based on the level of intellectual capital that is obtainable. Okay, how about some English this time? The knowledge economy is an economic system where growth is directly related to the amount, quality and accessibility of the information. Thus, growth and development of an economy is based on the information people can extract about it.

Now we can see why we made the distinction between Michelangelo and Bell. Bell extracted information and created an innovative product that drove change in the market. He blended creative thought with information, as well as innovation, engineering and design, to develop a product that people did not even know they needed - but once they saw it, they knew they had to have it. Simply put, it is not enough in today's world to be creative - you also must be innovative and be able to drive change.

So What's the Big Deal?

By now you might be thinking, 'What's the big deal? Creativity, innovation and change are great words to use, but I'm not going to develop anything in my job. I am working to build a department, and that innovative and creative stuff is left up to the other guys who are running the business!' Unless, of course, it is you running the business - then you do have to be creative, be innovative and drive change.

Ah, but not so fast.

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