Creativity Information

Creativity Management - Collaboration NOT Competition

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.

Collaboration NOT Competition

Creativity and Innovation are often used interchangeably. From the above we can see that the two are separate and distinct. That is perhaps why the place of competition in the field of creativity and innovation is often misquoted:

a) Collaboration beats competition in creativity. What is required to generate good ideas is intellectual cross-pollination as opposed to a restriction of ideas - which competition enhances.

b) Collaboration beats competition in creativity. Competition causes many people to shut down. Everyone suffers from evaluation apprehension and competition enhances that.

c) Collaboration beats competition in creativity. Competition does not engender a culture of psychological safety and freedom, which encourages people to express their cognitive activity.

d) Competition beats collaboration in innovation. Perhaps. It is true that firms compete to successfully commercialise products. However, the present debate between Open Source Software and Microsoft indicates that a free exchange of ideas is better for the economy as a whole and may be better for companies in the long run. IBM has recently allowed public access to many of its patents.

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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You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop MBA, 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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