Dr Jamie Brassett is Reader in Philosophy, Design & Innovation at Central Saint Martins where he has worked since 1995. He has been Course Leader for MA Innovation Management since its inception in 2008, but has taught product design, fashion & textiles design, graphics & communication design, & fine art too. This course takes a radical approach to understanding and teaching innovation management, by placing it in a context of Art & Design higher education.
He is currently working on a book with Richard Reynolds on Superheroes & Excess, as well as articles on smart design, a creative philosophy of anticipation, the ontological ethics of design & uncertain futures. Jamie consults in innovation & design research, as well as management, with particular emphasis upon strategic futures.
Without creativity there would be no innovation and vice versa. It is said creativity is about thinking new products or services and innovation is about doing those things.
While creativity is hard to measure and it is subjective, innovation is completely measurable and it is about introducing a new product which can make a change into a relatively stable system. Nevertheless, no one can deny that creativity goes hand in hand with innovation.
For Ramona Ailincăi, Head of Innovation at Ursus Breweries, creativity means freedom. It is the freedom to provide products with added value, both sensorial and functional, and the freedom to develop products without ruining the environment which proves its true value in time.
Dr. Jamie Brassett will join IAA Global Conference – Creativity Can Change the World, on October 24-25, but prior to his lecture at the event, Ramona asked him about creativity in innovation and how can the two be differentiated.
What does creativity mean for you?
Creativity is the ability to make something new happen.
If creativity is an unlimited resource, how do you harvest your team's creativity?
Ensure that they are in an environment which simultaneously encourages openness to experiment and constraints against which to push.
How important do you think creativity is in improving the world?
I’m not sure improvement can come in any other way.
Do you think there is a big difference between creativity and innovation?
Yes; a massive difference. If creativity is characterised by the ability to generate the new, and innovation as the ability for creativity to have a successful impact within or upon a particular context, then you can see that they are different. This means that one can be creative without being innovative, i.e. for the sake of it only.
But one cannot be innovative without being creative in some way. Furthermore, creativity isn’t the only answer to innovation. For innovation to happen, creativity needs to be successfully implemented somewhere, or have a successful impact somewhere.
Could you tell us if creativity changed something in your life? And what would that be?
Hmm, a good question. I suppose I wouldn’t have a life if there were not something creative happening. The complexity biologist Stuart Kauffman shows that creative evolution happens in the complex regions between order and chaos. In the chaotic region, anything new cascades so quickly that it ends up in destructive catastrophe. In the ordered, anything new is stifled quickly by the rigidity of the structures in which it is thrown.
Complexity gives just enough order not to be catastrophic, and just enough chaos not to stagnate. Life evolves in this complex region, he shows. Creativity is nurtured as a complex act, but – I think, importantly – one that also catalyses more (complex) creative acts. Which is a key corollary to your Question 2: any creative team needs to ensure not only that it occupies a complex region, but also that it furthers future creativity. Creativity – unfortunately maybe or excitingly too – is not a one-off hit: it needs to be encouraged, cherished and supported.
Moreover, I have been lucky to be a philosopher working in the art and design sector. (The story of how this happened is one of utter serendipity that is too long to bore you with here. But is important nevertheless.) I have been forced, to rethink and rework my philosophical thoughts for audiences, students, clients and so on, who are not familiar with the discourses and practices of philosophy. This makes my work thoroughly creative and thoroughly energising (if also somewhat exhausting!).
Finally, the philosophers that I love working with the most say that philosophy is a creative practice too: the practice of creating concepts. In the end, what I do is no different to what an artist or designer, or musician or whatever does, it just has a different set of materials immediately to hand.
Ursus - A teaser on Creativity series is part of IAA Global Conference – Creativity Can Change the World, the event will take place on October 24-25, at The National Opera House in Bucharest. For more information please visit www.creativity4better.com.