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Innovation: how it is shaped

Innovation actually springs up when there is constraints in the lives of a group of people in a particular society. It’s odd, but that’s how the system works. You’d think that creativity is always generated with the best circumstance and the nicest times of the day. You have to be in nature or you have to be really inspired so that the most creative ideas.

Typically, when one thinks of creative settings, one thinks of the open sea, or an endless skyline, or a blank canvas. All of these things have one common theme between them: endless and myriad of possibilities.

However, if we really need to think creatively, we almost need to have some boundaries. Why? Well, one reason is that the idea of limitless opportunities (or a “blank canvas”), kind of causes our brains to freeze. You know how the hardest part of doing a project is actually starting it? It’s like that. Our brains tend to see projects as really large boulders of rock that you need to move out of the way—even if the project is actually quite easy; and yes, after you’ve finally made the first move, it all seemed so easy—or at least it looked like easy.

While our minds would like to believe they’re the masters of abstract thought, in reality they lack so much if there are no much-needed constraints. The fact is that we humans are not really creators, but we great adapters. When faced with a problem, we humans like to figure out how to fix it—not create something totally new. Innovation isn’t really anything about creation, but rather finding solutions to existing problems. Read: constraints.

I’m not saying that creativity or innovation will not be possible in good times. They are indeed possible—and a lot of innovations came from really good times. What I’m saying is that an innovative idea readily comes as an answer to a need or a problem that needs to be solved. Or it can be a to the improvement of something that’s becoming obsolete in the present times.

So next time there’s a certain need in the market or a certain shift of demand, take a closer look. You might be able to do something remarkable and something you can truly call an innovation.

Your thoughts

What about you? What do you think about all this talk about innovation? Have you had an innovation in your business? What did we miss? What do you like to add?

Let us all know in the comments!

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About the Author

Stephen NellasStephen is part of the Software Jewel team, the company behind Clutterpad and BiP. He's also a regular author for BiP.View all posts by Stephen Nellas →