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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why Innovation Is About More Than Bright Ideas | Debra Kaye & Jure Klepic, Fast Company

I appreciate the reasonable arguments in this article. Kaye and Klepic write:
Not all bright ideas are innovative, even if they appear to be quite creative. And being a game-changer, not creativity, is what makes the difference between a market-altering product and one that has limited appeal.
As I interpret their article, Kaye and Klepic maintain that creativity for its own sake is not enough--at least when an individual or company is trying to promote and market products and ideas. Winning awards for creativity does not equate to capturing public interest and attention--nor does it relate directly to success in selling a product or idea.

Now, I do pay attention to the topic of creativity. I get Google Alerts about it; I buy books about it; I have a daily online paper about it, Creativity Connections.

But the information that grabs my attention the most highlights, first, real-life methods to enhance creativity but, second, real-life successes and consequences of achieving creativity.

The authors focus on the bottom line of creativity and innovation--how people respond in the marketplace. And I'm fine with that. As the title of my online paper implies, for creativity to be effective, it must create connections among people (as well as connections among ideas, places and things). If not, that creativity is mostly a personal achievement--not that there's anything wrong with that.

But a brilliant photograph or other work of art, wonderful lyrics in a song, or a cool idea about a new computer keyboard inside only an artist's or inventor's studio or work room doesn't inspire action and response by a larger audience.

The authors write:
In terms of business and commerce, a creative idea stops short of being groundbreaking if consumers aren't willing to buy the resulting product or service readily and enthusiastically. Innovation pulls multiple threads together for consumers (quality, usefulness, coolness, look, feel, price, and life-enhancement). While creativity may be unique and even admired, it may not captivate others in a big enough way to change the marketplace. Or, it may not offer benefits that shift the market.
A key point of their article:
Making a connection between ideas and consumer wants, needs, fears, and dreams is essential if marketers want to achieve success.
The authors continue their article by focusing on tools used to market creative, innovative products and ideas.  They conclude:
Creativity in marketing today means finding the social media influencers as well as those capable of being influenced, building relationships, and engaging potential customers much earlier in the consumer relationship. ...
Social marketers today need to break the rules of traditional communication streams, manage their communities differently, and become truly innovative instead of just relying on creativity to alter the market and sell their product.
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This article is featured today (Oct. 23) in Creativity Connections--available at the Creativity link above and by free email subscription.

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