Can innovation be taught?: The short answer: yes, and sometimes your customer can be the best teacher.
Forget what you’ve heard about late-night brainstorming sessions over foosball and pizza at companies like Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Round-the-clock intellectual jam sessions may spark creativity, but they aren’t particularly practical if you’re a small-business owner focused on delivering products, making payroll and keeping up with the rising prices of raw materials and health insurance.
“People tend to think that being innovative means being creative,” says Andrew Razeghi, a lecturer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management who’s written on the topic. “Some folks are more creative than others. But whereas creativity is more how you think, innovation is more how you act and behave, and those behaviors can definitely be learned.”
Photo: Anthony Qaiyum, president of Merz Apothecary, used technology to build the family business into a $7-million-a-year company. Credit: Erik Unger / Crain’s