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Working Definitions

Jennifer Crosson

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it”…Alan Kay
Innovation is the re-imagined work of those who have joined forces to create or move forward,
methods that no longer meet our needs. It is fostering and nurturing creativity in our future
generations. It is success from failure. Innovation propels our lives and civilization forward by
break throughs or change that meet new requirements. It is the deep contemplation and an
outcome in response to solving a problem. Innovation is an accepted change that is actualized as
a result of necessity, priority and collaboration.
The afore working definition was a result of “weeding through” the myriad of readings and
works to develop a definition that made sense to me. The definitions of the many works that I
consulted, generally used words similar in meaning. So the task for me was to disseminate which
were redundant while focussing on which resonated with me. As I am in the education field I
didn’t feel that a definition thick with business terminology would serve me well. I focused on
words that evoked stronger reactions, and created a meaning that I felt encompassed what my
role as an educator and citizen of the world.

Anderson, N., Potočnik, K., & Zhou, J. (2014). Innovation and creativity in organizations: A state-of-the-science review, prospective
commentary, and guiding framework. “Journal of Management”, 40(5), 1297-1333.
Jiang, L. (2015, April 2 ). “Why Education Innovation Is The Most Important Thing You Could Pursue.”. Retrieved July 06, 2016,

Lenz, B. (2010, December 10). “Education Speak: Defining Innovation”. Retrieved July 06, 2016, from
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun”
― Mary Lou Cook
To me, creativity is contemplation of thoughts that generate ideas, that prompt us to act.
Research into elaborating on my over-simplified definition led me to Amabile, Hennessey, and
Goldfarb’s (1990, 2010), articles and assertions that creativity is the inter-related forces that
operate at multiple levels. Further research by Martin (1996) in, “There’s too much to teach:
Cultural wealth in an age of scarcity” states that, cultural stock is passed down to future
generations through education, socialization, acculturation and exposure and cultural custodians
must cooperate to ensure care is taken to ensure longevity. Creative ideation as described by
Runco (2014), in, “Creativity”, allows one to cope with change and be flexible in their approach
to problem solving. Therefore, life long flexibility contributes to physical and psychological
Having consulted a multitude of resources, from varying academic disciplines and
contemporary works, I found myself becoming overwhelmed with the enormity of conflicting
perceptions, interpretations, and definitions. Which led me to investigate my thoughts regarding
what it isn’t, to consolidate my understandings of what it is. I have come to the opinion that
creativity is a process that is as unique as every individual and must be valued and nurtured
collectively by humanity to insure evolution and hence, our existence.
Amabile, T.M., Goldfarb, P., & Brackfield, S.C. (1990). Social influences on creativity: Evaluation, coaction, and surveillance.
“Creativity Research Journal”, 3(1), 6–21.
Badran, I. (2007). Enhancing creativity and innovation in engineering education. “European Journal of Engineering Education”, 32(5),
573–585. doi:0.1080/03043790701433061
“Creativity at Work: What is Creativity?” Retrieved from ttps://
Christensen, T. (2017, March 7). “Creativity isn’t just what you think, it’s what you do with what you think”.Retrived from https://
Hennessey, B.A., & Amabile, T.M. (2010). Creativity. “Annual Review of Psychology”, 61, 569 – 598. doi: 10.1146/
Lavric, A., Forstmeier, S., & Rippon, G. (2000). Differences in working memory involvement in analytical and creative tasks: An ERP
study. “NeuroReport”, 11(8), 1613–1618. doi:10.1097/00001756- 200006050-00004
Martin, J.R. (1996). There’s too much to teach: Cultural wealth in an age of scarcity. “Educational Researcher,” 25(2), 4–16. doi:
Mueller, J.S., Melwai, S., & Goncalo, J.A. (2012). The bias against creativity: Why people desire but reject creative ideas.
“Psychological Science”, 23(1), 13–17. doi:10.1177/0956797611421018
Paul R. E. (2002, January 1) Human Natures, Nature Conservation, and Environmental Ethics: Cultural evolution is required, in both
the scientific community and the public at large, to improve significantly the now inadequate response of society to the human predicament,
“BioScience”, V.(52), I (1), PP. 31–43, Retrieved from,
Runco, M.A. (2004). Creativity. “Annual Review of Psychology”, 55, 657–687. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141502
Olafsson, B. (2017, August, 25) “What creativity isn’t”. TEDxTalks. Retrieved from