Imagination -> Creativity -> Innovation -> Entrepreneurship

Source: Maria Shriver blog, Jun 2015

a hierarchy of skills, starting with imagination:

  • Imagination leads to creativity.
  • Creativity leads to innovation.
  • Innovation leads to entrepreneurship.

… proposed definitions and relationships for moving from imagination to entrepreneurship:

Imagination is envisioning things that do not exist. This requires curiosity, engagement and the ability to conceive of ideas in your mind.

Creativity is applying imagination to address a challenge. Creative ideas fill a specific need and are manifest in the world. They are new ideas to you, but not necessarily new to others. It is important to distinguish between imagination and creativity. It’s imaginative to fill your thoughts with scenes of the seashore, and it’s creative to apply your imagination to paint a picture of the scene.

Innovation is applying creativity to generate unique solutions. In contrast to creativity, innovative ideas are new to the world, not just new to the inventor. This necessitates looking at the world with a fresh perspective, and involves challenging assumptions, reframing situations and connecting ideas from disparate disciplines. The resulting breakthrough ideas reveal opportunities and tackle challenges that haven’t been addressed the same way before.

Entrepreneurship is applying innovation, to bring unique ideas to fruition, thereby inspiring others’ imagination. Clearly, entrepreneurship is needed in businesses that are designed to commercialize innovations, but it is equally important in all endeavors that depend upon entrepreneurial thinking to address thorny problems. Entrepreneurial doctors develop and deliver lifesaving procedures; entrepreneurial educators invent and deploy effective teaching techniques; and entrepreneurial policymakers craft and implement groundbreaking laws to address social problems.

The Invention Cycle

  • Imagination is envisioning things that do not exist.
  • Creativity is applying imagination to address a 
challenge.
  • Innovation is applying creativity to generate unique solutions.
  • Entrepreneurship is applying innovation, to bring unique ideas to fruition, inspiring others’ imagination.

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