Problems of Equating Creativity with Innovation

-Dave Tanner, 1993

I was the founder of the DuPont Center for Creativity and Innovation and report here on my KAI course experience. Reflecting on Kirton’s explanation of the problems of equating creativity with innovation, I realise that had I taken the KAI course prior to setting up the Center, the mix of people on our Advisory Board of senior executives would have been quite different. I would have paid more attention to “balance” in creativity styles. In hindsight, we were too heavily weighted toward high innovative and would have profited from more adaptive thinking. We also would have given the Center a slightly different name, such as The Center for Creative Problem Solving.

Editor’s Note (2003): In the decade that has passed since this newsletter item was first published, more experience has accumulated within the A-I network. It is all too clear that if you signal, wittingly or unwittingly, a preference for a style this will affect the relationship with the group with whom you are working. In this kind of case, fewer adaptors will be willing to join and those that often report that they are not sure that they are as well regarded. Yet, over time, their contribution may be vital for the survival of the group.