Today is the World Creativity and Innovation Day, a global UN day to raise awareness around the importance of creativity and innovation.
So, I want to use this morning “apple” to share two beliefs that drive my work when it comes to creativity and innovation.
The first one is that we are all born innovators.
I believe we are all born with an infinite capacity for creativity and innovation. Just observe any children and how they approach a world that, for them, is new and unfathomable. They create their way forward in life using their imagination and curiosity.
Unfortunately, a society designed around the need for efficiency and productivity crushes this natural creative potential.
In his famous TEDx talk, Dr George Land explained how he and his team developed a test to help NASA identify the best candidates to become astronauts. The experiment aimed to measure the creativity of the potential astronauts, and the test was so simple that Land and his team decided to submit the test to 5-year-old children to see how they performed. 98% of them passed the test. They then tested the same group at five-year intervals, and the results were surprising. Only 30% of those same children passed the test when they were 10 years old, just 12% when they reached 15, and merely 2% once they reached adulthood.
The people we label as creative or innovators are not from a different planet. They just find ways to keep the connection with that inner source of creativity they were born with.
And everyone can find that connection again. We explain how in the book about innovation and awareness that Sujith Ravindran, Elliot Leavy and I will publish in a month.
The second belief I hold about innovation is that everything is an opportunity to innovate.
Even the tiniest things.
In our research for the book, we read plenty of definition for innovation. Using different styles and words, they all talk about change, novelty and impact. However, none of them says anything about size.
As Gabriel Tarde wrote over 100 years ago in his “Les lois sociales“, we speak too much “of great men when in fact we should be speaking of great ideas, which often come from very small men, or even of small ideas, of the tiny innovations each of us contributes to the common enterprise“.
Nothing is too small to be innovated. Don’t wait for the next big idea to start using your potential to innovate. Practice creativity and innovation now, in your world, with everything in your life including the small things. Plus, you never know what impact your small innovation will create over time, thanks to the domino effect.
Yes, we wrote a book about innovation and no, it’s not another book on innovation. It is about subtraction and impact. I’ll share more next days.
Drawing by Vanessa Jane Smith