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Everybody is creative, everybody innovates

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Creativity is thinking up new things.

Innovation is doing new things.

Theodore Levitt

April 21st is an important commemorative day.

It is not important to me only because my grandpa was born today several decades ago, but because everybody can celebrate creativity and innovation as meaningful components of their life.

Today the United Nations celebrates the World Creativity and Innovation Day, and there is no better time to remind that human beings have a natural attitude to solving problems creatively.

Since prehistory we adapted our living conditions to the environment and the context, we used to live in. We created tools to survive, technologies to evolve, knowledge to enrich our brain and body.

Creativity and innovation might be generally perceived as concepts strictly related to the world of technology, engineering, design, however, there is much more than that. I’m sure we are all aware of thousands of examples of creative and innovative solutions that opened up to new ways of living and working. One recent example that comes to my mind is how many people were able to access remote working through recent technologies, during the pandemic. This creative change and technological innovation altered the working routine and consequentially modified the work-life balance. On the other hand, millions of people experienced some of the most challenging times of their life, struggling to use their creative skills to innovate into their disrupted lives.

The word creativity comes from the Latin term creare, "to create, make" and as the word suggests, it is about creating by employing the power of the mind to produce ideas that might solve problems, express thoughts, plans, or simply envision something new.

The word innovation comes from the Latin term innovatus, "to renew, restore" and also "bring in new things". Shawn Hunter defines innovation as "… the implementation or creation of something new that has realized value to others."

Innovation is about taking newly created ideas a step further: execute them and turn them into actionable outcomes. We can somehow say that innovation means putting in practice what an idea or a theory was at the start.

However, what might seem unusual for many people at first, is the natural attitude of every single person to master creativity and innovation in everyday life. If we simply look back to what we did in our life, no matter if we are young or old, we can certainly unveil a series of moments where we had to make a decision, to unfold a problem, or simply to solve a personal situation. In every moment where we experienced a challenge, our creative skills emerged and allowed us to complete the new task in a way we were not used to be doing before.

My experience in running several courses and give several talks on design, creativity, and innovation around the world allowed me to understand that creativity and innovation are not only associated with the process of creating a disruptive product, service, or technology.

Creativity and innovation are constant companions of our daily routine.

Creativity and innovation are inner capabilities that all of us hold.

Creativity and innovation help us to disrupt the routine.

Creativity and innovation are like muscles that we can train every day in every situation of our life.

I remember some of the conversations I had at Stanford University with David Kelley, co-founder of IDEO and author with Tom Kelley of the book “Creative Confidence”, where emerges that everyone has creative potential, not just to make objects, but to literally design their life.

Meeting David in 2019 at the Stanford d.School

What amazes me is that creativity and innovation are fundamental to create disruptive technologies, products, experiences, but most importantly, we can all use them every day to design our own life.

Creativity and innovation sometimes are just hidden, we need to use them more frequently, in order to master them.

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