Four thought leaders share their top tips for innovation
On 21st April we celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day. Creativity and innovation are beneficial in every walk of life, and every career. From those in customer service finding ways to improve their customer’s experience, scientists who’s every work day is filled with learning new things about the world and finding new ways to apply it, to politicians who could use their creativity to find new ways to solve problems and aid the public. World Creativity and Innovation Day encourages everyone to imagine a different world with different solutions.
We asked our top creativity and innovation speakers to offer their ideas on how people and organisations can be more creative and innovative in the year ahead.
A former elite scientist, Nick fuses cutting-edge neuroscience with timeless wisdom, all focussed on how to drive practical change. He inspires audiences to switch on and step up to engage with the future, drive digital transformation and lead in an AI world.
Recognised thought leader thinker, Thinkers50 speaker and bestselling author. Alf Rehn is a highly influential professor at the University of Southern Denmark who is passionate about innovation, creativity, design and management. Having worked with a variety of Fortune 500 corporations as well as founding his own highly successful international advertising agency, he knows a thing or two about management and business innovation. With quick wit, unending passion and truly fascinating examples based on his own experiences, he’s a highly engaging and entertaining speaker with international success.
For an organisation, the most important thing is not to create ideas – as these are born all the time, without us even trying – but to try to ensure we do not kill them too early. A new idea, particularly an unconventional one, will always be a very weak seedling at first. It’s oh so easy to kill it because it doesn’t represent something we’re already comfortable with, and in organisations, we can kill with a yawn, a look, an unkind word.
For the individual, the most important thing for enhancing creativity is to not discount ideas that at first seem silly, or impossible, or just plain wrong. The human mind is a strange thing. It falls in love with its first ideas, the ones that are easiest to think of, and it resists ideas that do not with our experience or our view of the world. Thus an individual may well be producing wondrous ideas, but also to ignore them for being “the wrong kind of creative”.
For both, a core part of actually living with creativity is care. To care enough for new ideas to tend them and nurture them until they are a little more viable. To care enough even for the misshapen and less than beautiful ideas to give them a shot, and not just go for the easiest, and most easy to recognise ones. Ideas are easy, but caring for them is hard work. Luckily it is a labour we can all learn, if we’re prepared to treat new ideas with the same kindness we’d treat a child taking its first, unsteady steps in this world.
Founder and CEO of Music and Management who combines decades of experience as an international musician with 15 years of facilitating innovative learning experiences for business using the metaphor of music. Professor Alldis started out as a classical musician and then introduced jazz into his repertoire, so he is now able to introduce the concept of fusing classical and jazz, and teaching lessons to corporations about how this can work in their businesses.
There are many things that individuals and organisations can learn about innovation and creativity from the world of music, in particular from the meeting point between classical music and jazz.
Classical music is known and revered throughout the world for its tradition of excellence, emotional insight and fascinating creative evolution over hundreds of years. By comparison, jazz is a relatively young musical form, emphasising improvisation, disruption and ‘in the moment’ creativity.
Like modern musicians exploring the fusion of these different musical cultures, today’s business organisations need to maintain the ‘classical’ values of excellence, teamwork and tradition, while fostering the ‘jazz’ values of adaptability, disruption and innovation.
By observing musicians at work – classical players within an orchestra, or jazz players with an improvising band – corporate players can explore how successfully they are combining these two paradigms within their own working cultures. As they see classical and jazz musicians come together and ‘fuse’ their two musical cultures, business leaders gain insight into how they might also transcend previously accepted boundaries and meet the challenges and opportunities of today’s corporate climate.
Billie Whitehouse is a fashion designer with a difference: transforming the industry through the innovative ways she incorporates technology into our clothing. As a garment engineer, she strongly believes people should not have to look like the technology they have grown to love and depend on.