Creativity in Science and Engineering, Part 1

Recently, my project manager attended a seminar on Systematic Innovation. It was interesting he said, but he wasn't too sure of the ultimate value of it. It mostly seemed like a really fancy kind of brainstorming, to try and help you address a greater proportion of the probabilities. But the really crucial question for us was: would this help the most creative guy we work with be more innovative? We basically figured no, because it would just drive him crazy. Our resident mad scientist is pretty hard to put to task on anything, but he comes up with the craziest ideas that often actually work. Telling him that he needed to apply some system would just annoy him, and waste our time.

This got me thinking of the subject of creativity in science and engineering, since I have fallen into a corporate R&D role. My job is essentially to come up with innovative new products, and bring them to market. I don't know much about other kinds of creativity, so I will hew pretty closely to the kinds of things I am familiar with.

This is something that bears thinking about, because innovative science and engineering have a great deal to do with our modern standard of life, so it seems that we would like to encourage creativity as a matter of the common good. With this goal in mind, I'd like to look at the personality traits associated with creativity, and the matter of the best way to manage creativity in a business environment. Over the next few days, I will post my thoughts on those subjects.