Business Innovation ? Masks and Trance

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Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

Masks and Trance

One useful import from the field of Improvisation is the concept of Masks and Trance to get people thinking in different directions.

Mask studies show that peoples character changes according to the perceived character of the mask they are wearing. Virtual masks (pretending) encourage people to think in radically alternate directions:

a) Businessmen scored low in creativity until they were asked to pretend to be happy go lucky hippies, when their creativity ratings skyrocketed.

b) People are more likely to express inappropriate ideas, as they believe they have less value.

c) People are more likely to express inappropriate ideas, as they are able to give the impression that it is not really what they would say.

d) People are able to quickly switch between personalities by putting on different masks ? and instantly change their approach.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop MBA, is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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