School teaches that there is one right answer. As students we are supposed to figure out that answer. It’s the one that matches what it says in the answer key at the back of the book or for the test.
But business and life isn’t like that. There isn’t just one right answer for most of the problems and situations we encounter. In business and in life we need to be creative, to explore many options, to be able to discover something or a process that is innovative.
It is too easy, too comfortable, and usually a mistake to think that we are searching for the one right answer. Instead, in business we are looking for as many options as possible and then be able to make a choice or choices among them. If we think there is only one right answer we will jump on the first answer that comes up that would work. Usually the first idea is one that comes up fast because it is common and over-used. You are better off making your choice because it won the comparison discussion, not just because it was the first and only idea expressed.
Innovation means something new to the world or at least new to the situation. To come up with something new it is necessary to tap into the creativity of as many options as possible. That will work best when you open up to other viewpoints, brainstorm to bring out all types of responses, and include multiple ideas and multiple versions of similar ideas.
Creativity. Without open minds embracing many ideas and options, the road to innovation will be completely fogged in. With the openness for creativity, the road will have many dead ends but will also have plenty of room for u-turns, start-overs, and what-ifs.
What is creative competency? It does not require that you be an artist or writer or any of the ‘creativity’ occupations. Instead, all that is required is that your mind be open to possibilities and you share and keep sharing the hundreds of ideas you have, rather than squashing them by saying, ‘No one would think it is a good idea,’ or ‘That’s silly.’
The ideas shared with others often form the germ of an idea to expand and share back.
If I share an idea I have with you and you share one with me, we both now have two ideas, or many more as we explore how to mix and match and build on those ideas. Ideas multiply like rabbits if only you have an open mind and let them.