Creativity and Innovation Management: Goal Setting

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.

Goal Setting

One of the important debates in the field of creativity and innovation is the topic of goal setting. Is it positive or negative?

Under extreme time pressure, it is not unusual to find that people become ingeniously creative. The Apollo space mission was rescued because of the urgent need to solve a problem. Edwin Locke proposed that goals were a major source of motivation, that is, goals tell one what needs to be done and what effort needs to be expended. Goals direct responses, actions, behaviour, performance and lead to feedback. Additionally, incremental goals lead to greater output than simply “do your best.”

However, goals also lead to conformity, which kills creativity. Extreme time pressure also prevents the mind from incubating on a problem – working on it at various cognitive levels and allowing richer solutions to become evident. Moreover, creatives almost unanimously object to targets, preferring for “inspiration.”

These 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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