Relating Innovation, Invention, And Creation To Problem-solving.
Every innovation, invention, and creation are affiliated with solving a problem, which means that people who have created the most groundbreaking ideas identified a problem and looked for solutions, they either wanted to improve on something existing, come up with a different idea that has never been seen before and bring it to life.
What is Innovation?
When thinking about new ideas what is the first thing that comes to mind? Do you look at already existing products and think, how can I make this better or do you think of creating something brand new, something that has never been seen before. If you look at an already existing product, process, or device and think about a different or better way to go about it that is called innovation.
Let me make this clearer with an example, when mobile phones were created they were made to be convenient to people for them to use anywhere and anytime, but keep in mind that acoustic and corded telephones existed before mobile phones were introduced, would you call that an invention or innovation? Think about it, phones existed back then but were not portable, the problem identified was - How can individuals transmit information at their convenience? How can we identify who is calling? How can we store a record of the people we know? Therefore the solution was creating mobile phones with special dial-up numbers and features that enable people to store contacts on their phones. When thinking of an innovative idea - analyze the problem, research if there is an already existing product, process, or device and look at how you can improve those features and take it to the next level.
What are inventions?
Most people often confuse inventions with creations. There is a difference between these two words but they are interrelated. Before I highlight their differences, let us understand what inventions mean. According to an introduction to entrepreneurship book by Colorado State University’s Michael Laverty and Chris Littel, an invention is a “truly novel product, service, or process that, though based on ideas and products that have come before, represents a leap, a creation truly novel and different”. In other words, an invention is an original and authentic idea or concept that hasn’t been created. Inventions are hard to come up with, they usually take years of building because they have not been established before.
Most inventions come out of new problems and challenges. When a new problem arises, it’s either two things that occur which are; something exists that can solve the problem but it has to go through a touch-up, or something new has to be designed and created to tackle the problem. That is what you call an invention. An example of an invention will be a vaccine, using the current state of the world with the outbreak of a new virus, a vaccine will have to be invented and produced to tackle it because it is a new challenge. In fact, new challenges bring out new inventions most of the time.
Creation. Creativity and The Creative Problem Solving model
If you notice the use of the words “create”, and “created” in the previous paragraph it points out how interrelated creation is with innovation and invention. Creation is often a result or outcome of an invention or innovation, therefore it means bringing something into life. When coming up with ideas creativity plays a huge part, the next few sentences will talk about using a creative approach to formulate ideas. The act of solving problems through unconventional methods is called Creative problem solving (CPS). According to Mind Tools, this process “encourages you to find fresh perspectives and come up with innovative solutions in reaching your goals”.
The Creative Problem Solving model helps you in identifying the challenges in building an idea or coming up with a solution. Let’s use a scenario, you’ve got a brief from a client who has an issue in achieving their annual target sales. How do you as a consultant help them solve this issue? You would want to brainstorm on this and know what steps can you follow. The first step is identifying the problem you want to solve, and getting more information about the problem. For instance, what is the depth of this issue? Who does it affect and what have others done to tackle it? You can also view what worked and what didn’t so that it points you in the right direction.
Once you have enough information about the issue, it’s time for the ideas to start jumping in. Note down all the ideas that have been suggested, group them from best to the least likely to execute, “evaluate the ideas and identify if the best ideas are possible and actually solve the problem” (Lucid Chart). You can figure this out through research, finding out if it has worked for companies with the same issue your client has. The next step is to create a plan and execute it. While executing your plan, be sure to have reviews to see if the plan is actually solving the problem. If your client has an improvement in sales it will be a successful idea but if not, it is definite you would have to go back to the drawing board and restrategize.
By: Famimi Sen