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I think one of the common beliefs about creativity and innovation is that you have to be born with it, you have to be one of these super-talented people that have this sort of innate ability. A lot of people confuse creativity with sort of artistic talent. They're different. When we think about business innovation, we're talking about creativity that generates ideas and products that meet three criteria. Creative products have to be new meaning they've not been done before.
They have to be useful. They've got to deliver some new value for customers in the marketplace. I like to throw in this third criteria. They have to be surprising. When you nail it, your customer will see it and they're absolutely delighted with this. Let's go back to this idea of creative talent. How do you become more creative? The good news is is that innovation is not a gift that you're born with. It's a skill that anybody can learn. You can learn innovation just like you learn any other skill whether it's in business such as marketing or accounting, or learning a new sport like tennis or golf, or learning to play a musical instrument.
There are systematic approaches to innovation and creativity that you can learn and you can master. These are techniques that can be learned by children. I've taught this to third graders, and I've taught it to CEOs of large companies, and pretty much everybody in between. So I've seen it with my own eyes. I know that this could be learned, and I see people immediately make themselves more creative no matter where they're starting on the creativity scale. It's just amazing to me to see how people boost their creativity by applying techniques that make them creative on demand.
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