BEING CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE
What I love about my work is the creative side. If you're going to move science and knowledge forward, you've got to be creative, you've got to be innovative.
Creativity  is the production of novel and useful ideas by an individual or small group of individuals that work together. These individually produced creative ideas form the basis of innovation. Organizational innovation  refers to the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization.
What do we mean by creativity and innovation?
There are many different theories of creativity. One of the key ones focuses on four components that lead to creative endeavours : domain-relevant skills , creativity-relevant processes  (that something “extra), and intrinsic task motivation . These are complemented by the social environment in which the individual works. This theory suggests creativity will be highest for employees who are intrinsically motivated, with strong expertise in their domain, strong skills in creative thinking, and who work in an environment that supports creativity. When someone who is intrinsically motivated with high domain expertise and high skill in creative thinking, works in an environment that supports creativity.
Biographical variables, cognitive style and ability, motivation, social and contextual influences.
Individual creative behaviour, group composition, group characteristics, team processes, contextual influences.
Both individual and team (or group) creativity.
Figure 1. The interaction perspective of creativity
Other theoretical perspectives and models of creativity focus on different aspects of the individual and workplace. For example, the model of individual creative action  suggests individual creativity arises from the combined influence of sense making processes, motivation, and knowledge and skills. The our-factor theory of team climate for innovation  instead focuses on team climate, suggesting that vision, participative safety, task orientation, and support for innovation are necessary team components for creativity. Last, the dual-pathway model of creativity  takes the approach of creativity as cognitive flexibility (e.g., switching to a different approach) and cognitive persistence (e.g., degree of sustained and focused task-directed cognitive effort), and dispositional/situational variables.
Overall, then, the research suggests this: creativity may be driven by individual differences between people, but it is facilitated by their social environment in the workplace.
From Creativity to Innovation
Creativity can be considered as an idea journey consisting of four phases:
1. Idea generation
is the process of generating a novel and useful idea
is the process of systematically evaluating a novel idea’s potential and further clarifying and developing it.
(i.e., emotional support, constructive feedback and suggestions)
is the active promotion of a novel idea aimed at obtaining at approval of idea.
Influence and Legitimacy
4. Idea implementation
However, there are other factors that can impact on creativity and innovation. A 2009 meta-analysis  emphasizes the importance of an incubation period in problem-solving; that is, the time during which a problem is set aside prior to further attempts to solve it. This rest period can enhance creative problem-solving ability.
However, creativity may depend on other individual characteristics. A 2014 study  found that intelligence moderated in the relationship between creative activities and creative achievement. In other words, intelligence is necessary to turn activity into outcomes. Openness to experience, too, can contribute to creativity. Open people are curious and actively seek out new activities, leading them to engage in different creative activities, which develops into a strong foundation of creative experience and knowledge.
Workplace creativity refers to producing novel and useful ideas for organizational products, services, or processes. It is important is to distinguish between creative performance behaviours  – that is, generating ideas –and creative outcome effectiveness  which instead refers to the evaluation of those behaviours. Types of creative performance behaviours include:
Problem definition behaviours
Identification or formulation of problem or opportunity, which requires an unknown resolution.
Information gathering behaviours
Active effort to search for and acquire new information.
Idea generating behaviours
Creation of new mental connections that are relevant to the task or problem.
Idea evaluation behaviours
Judgments of utility of an idea by forecasting the implementation of the idea.
These types of creative performance behaviours are sometimes expected to be performed on the job, driven by external rewards or punishments. However, some creative behaviours are unexpected; that is, they are performed without any external drivers and are predominantly initiated by the employee’s internal drive for creativity.
Doing Creative Research
Vitae Innovate  interviewed postdocs and principal investigators to develop a creativity guide for postdoctoral researchers. They pinpoint research culture, communication, and making time and space for creativity as critical components:
Professor Patrick Dunleavy identified the following strategies that can foster innovative and creative thinking  :
Take the risk of trying to think innovatively, rather than choosing a safe path.
Critically evaluate accepted ideas to identify interesting anomalies or paradoxes (i.e., thing that are accepted but perhaps should not be)
Look widely – not just in peer reviewed journals, but domains that are more current and cutting edge e.g., academic blogs, Twitter, XArchiv, conference papers, other disciplines.
Keep your practice under review – jot down your thoughts, however insignificant, to encourage your growth beyond your mental constraints.
Be a constructive self-critic: evaluate and critique your own ideas, but only after immersing yourself in a topic and giving your ideas time to develop.
Expect innovation to be an up-and-down process – remember that psychological security is necessary for innovation, so push the boundaries but be aware of your own risk tolerance.
Developing Innovation Leadership
“Leadership makes the difference when it comes to innovation” according to the Center for Creative Leadership. As innovation is a key factor in business growth, it is important for leaders to understand how to foster creativity and fuel innovation. The CCL identifies and recommends five practices that individuals can use to develop innovation leadership, which are :
Learn how roles and capabilities needed for innovation vary by level
Focus on an innovation process
Identify and leverage different contributions to innovation
Work across boundaries
In the table below we distinguish between business thinking and innovative thinking. You can see other innovative thinking skills that are needed to allow organizations to create something new and useful.
Business thinking versus innovative thinking
Distinctive behaviours of an innovative leader that have been identified are :
Inspire and motivate through action
Excel at stretching
Put faith in a culture that magnifies upward communication
Display excellent strategic vision