Innovation or Creativity?
Believe it or not student created pumpkins in our library got me to thinking about the difference between innovation and creativity. On the surface it is easy to understand the definition of innovation by George Couros, "a way of thinking that creates something new and better." But applying the definition is not so easy. The library pumpkin challenge is a great example. The pumpkin challenge provided a highly engaging opportunity for students to be creative. They were to take an ordinary pumpkin and create a book character out of the pumpkin. Creativity requires fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. Students were very successful in meeting the pumpkin challenge as evident by the many creative pumpkins exhibited in the library. But for the student that took the assignment, probably unknowingly, to the next level of innovation, what made her project innovative? I have thought about the 8 characteristic of the innovator's mindset (see below) when thinking about this student's project. The student did not have a pumpkin. which began the process of thinking differently. The student took something that she had at home, paper, and transformed it by stuffing, shaping, and drawing a Dumbo to create her pumpkin. In thinking about the 8 characteristics, I would argue that she indeed was an innovator which did require her to be creative. On page 26 of the Innovative Mindset, the last sentence states, "Designing solutions with both the individuals' interests and the end goal in mind is crucial for any innovation to be successful." This student's pumpkin challenge with paper and an innovative mindset is a great example for us to consider as we think about the opportunities that we provide our students to be creative, yes, but to also have opportunities to be innovative.