Justin Jacoby Smith is an organizer, web geek, Buddhist, and poet.

creative thinking, innovation & work

Innovation is an outcome – not the root of – of creative thinking and creative problem solving. Always, creativity is the spark, the “I see this in a different way” that leads to and shapes the capacity of innovation. Our society seems to like the word innovation because it suggests a mathematical-scientific process or formula that can be captured and transfered to others. But without the creativity that is at the heart of innovation, there is nothing. Creativity is not a formula. It is a process, a way of thought.

ArtsMarket on the crucial pivot away from the term "innovation" necessary to building a creativity economy.

This is something I've been mulling over in my head for a while now--critical thinking, the willingness to examine a problem from a different perspective to find a different kind of solution, is the key ingredient. This doesn't get emphasized enough--it's not a formula, but it's not magical either.

It's a process of examining and re-examining the problem you've been given--how to make this sentiment fit the rhythm of the line, how to use this color in a new way, how to design this database query to get exactly the answers you need and no more--and it's a kind of work. Ask a songwriter, or a painter, or a computer programmer. It can be playful work, but it is work, and the only way through the fire to a finished piece of craft--the only way to innovation--is to do the work of critical thinking.