Innovation & creativity: what can we do to boost them?

When inventing the solutions of the future to meet consumer expectations, one element is vital – liberating employees’ creativity and stimulating co-creation by placing the user at the heart of the design process. But how can this be done? We will reveal all!
Innovation
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  • Putting people back at the heart of co-creation
The mechanics of creative thinking
Creativity and innovation within the company are powerful tools for developing innovative solutions. And a wide range of tools and methods are available to boost employees’ creativity – although the company still needs to be willing to adopt a new perspective and incorporate the end user in its creative process.

Creativity and innovation: what are the differences?

Creativity is a cognitive process that could be defined as an individual’s ability to imagine something new – a new concept, a new idea or a new solution. When these new ideas are implemented, it becomes innovation. 

Whereas creativity is closely associated with intuition, innovation involves action. Creative thinking, meanwhile, is a different cognitive process, by which our brain is able to take other paths, to “think outside the box” and break with preconceptions in order to find a solution. In the world of business, encouraging employees to think creatively provides an opportunity to discover innovative concepts.  

Empathy – a virtuous co-creation tool

Until a few years ago, creativity was the preserve of the creative professions, but has now moved into the world of industry and technology where innovative projects are carried out. 

We can all demonstrate creativity if our environment allows us. By practicing co-creation, or “cross-thinking”, in other words by seeking input from all of a project's stakeholders, even if they are not specialized, you stimulate and liberate the thought processes of all those involved in order to come up with truly innovative ideas. 

“Inventions can emerge by simply inviting individuals to ask questions in order to solve problems”

The starting point for the innovative creative method called “design thinking” implies strong empathy with the end user. It is no longer about designing products in a linear manner – from the company to the user – but rather about creating products designed for and by the user. There is no need to be a creative professional to find innovative solutions. More important is the combination of several skills (professionals, industrialists, scientists, consumers, etc.) to reveal an innovative solution to a problem or a need. 

And thanks to Saint-Gobain’s Boost! e-learning training platform, employees from all over the world can now train themselves in creativity or “design thinking” among other things.

Putting people back at the heart of co-creation and promoting a “user centric” vision, demonstrating agility by including the end user throughout the creative process – that is the challenge of innovation in business.

How can creativity be stimulated in business? 

Creativity is a powerful innovation tool. Various tools and methods are available to stimulate employees’ creative thinking and encourage new ideas in relation to a project. But above all it is essential to foster an innovative project culture within the company by adopting an agile philosophy and a specific vision of innovation.  

  • Fab Labs
    These open manufacturing workshops provide an opportunity for designers, DIY enthusiasts and artists to collaborate and come up with prototypes. These labs boost inventiveness by providing access to as many digital production tools as possible. 
  • Living Labs
    The living lab is a methodology that puts users and individuals at the heart of the innovation ecosystem. It is an open innovation laboratory promoting collaborative innovation. 
  • Circular Design
    the imagination of innovative solutions as part of a virtuous circle of optimized use of resources combined with a focus on recyclability. It means finding innovative solutions which take into account their overall impact on the environment. 
  • The Hackathon
    This is an event bringing together developers, project managers, designers and entrepreneurs to think intensively about a problem in a very short period of time, in the context of a challenge. These events foster collective intelligence to achieve an innovative solution.

Training, experimenting and co-creating mean becoming more open to creative thinking and developing even more innovation within the company!

Photo credits: Getty Images/Mint Images / Getty Images / Shutterstock / Saint-Gobain