Business Innovation ? Real Self versus the Trained Self

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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.

Real Self versus the Trained Self

Personalities can be said to be psychotic in many ways and one of those is the idea, readily accepted, that we have at least two selves: the real self and that self which we present to the world.

The size and quality of the idea pool is enhanced when individuals are allowed to generate ideas as their real selves as opposed to their trained self.

The trained self produces ideas that are evaluated; that are not inappropriate. The trained self is much more path dependent, parochial and subject to competency traps.

The real self produces ideas that have a greater degree of value on an intrinsic level. Further, the real self produces a greater number of varied and novel ideas. The real self has a greater tendency for frame breaking.

Methods for eliciting the real self include:

a) Engaging in activities that they are intrinsically motivated by. For example, many people would travel more if they were wealthier ? they are intrinsically motivated to do this, without ulterior motive or goal.

b) Engage in a greater variety of activities. The most creative people tend to be those that have a life long interest in many subjects.

c) Increase the frequency of expression. Increased expression correlates with increased idea generation ? increased expression chips away at the blocks that inhibit it.

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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