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Innovation Management ? the Root of the Problem

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

The root of the problem

Problem identification is often considered the most boring aspect of creativity. But it is in fact the most crucial. If you're not working on the right problem, then you're working towards the wrong solution; all energy, time and resources are being wasted. Ideally, problem identification should occupy more time than idea generation.

Further, leaders often perceive that problem identification can and should be reduced to one sentence. Depending on the situation, that may be wise, but it is also likely that the problem is more complex than at first appears and requires the development of a structure to break it down into manageable pieces and a process to identify the steps required to create a good solution:

a) Structure. A representation of the whole. All problems, especially complex ones, can be reduced into constituent parts and the whole problem solved by creating smaller sets of manageable problem solving exercises.

b) Process. The methodology that will lead to good solutions. From A to Z.

From the above, it is easier to see that, if problem identification is performed well, then pathways for ideas begin to automatically sprout. And what you need to generate quantity and quality ideas are lots of pathways to explore.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop, MBA


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Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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