Creativity is defined as the ability to conceive something original and unusual. In some respects, creativity precedes innovation, to the extent that that involves the practical implementation of the ideas conceived in the creative process. Even though it is true that we can talk about creativity without innovation, and that regularly occurs in the innovation management processes that are fed by the dynamics to generate creative proposals, many of which will not pass the necessary tests to be put into practice. In other areas, such as the artistic and cultural fields, the creation process incorporates what has been created (innovation) as a product that is generated simultaneously to its conceptualisation, or which at least provides a component closely linked to the creative fact.
The creative process is recognised as a value insofar as it is one of the dynamics that allows us to evolve individually and collectively. In our so dynamic and changing societies, the search for the new or the delving into the unknown, which can be recognised as an inherent boost to our human nature, has likewise converted into a social value. A collective and individual willingness that needs to be fostered, but also to be duly assessed, fleeing from superficial identifications between novel and value.
In that regard, it is important to stress that the consideration of the innovative and creative attitude and practice as a moral value must include the question for the social value of what has been created. From this ethical perspective, the creativity-innovation, to which the adjective “social” is often added, reinforces their value-means status to serve a greater good, insofar as it ensures that what is produced does not only not generate collateral or direct negative impacts, but also that it may contribute to construct fairer societies.
Promoting creativity/innovation has the following implications for the behaviour of individuals, the organisation of civil society and public institutions.
Creativity is a value closely linked to different competences such as curiosity or critical thought. A creative citizenry requires a willingness to interact with the environment, to understand and embrace the challenges raised. In that regard, creativity and responsibility are in that moral space which emerges from our relationship with others and with the environment in which we live and which drives us to take charge of what has to be transformed. In those dynamics, citizens are not only agents, but also demanders of creativity, insofar as they are able to pinpoint what must be recreated or surpassed, by claiming their transformation.
Social organisations play a fundamental role in the recognition of our societies’ new problems and others that have been pending a response for some time. This role places the onus on their being authentic enablers of innovation, by identifying, proposing and trying out creative alternatives aimed at the common good. In the same way, social organisations play a fundamental role in the appraisal of innovative processes and their impact on our societies in areas such as sustainability, equality, etc.
Even though there is an individual dimension in the development of the creative potential, the innovative-creative process requires an environment conducive to stimulating and steering it appropriately. It is also enriched with the sharing of knowledge and experiences, with discussion, deliberation and experimenting. Those processes cannot be solely stimulated by market logic as they have an unavoidable risk component and, in many cases, are in response to problems that are not appropriately assessed from a strictly economic perspective. The public administrations have a key role in driving creative environments and innovation aimed at the common good. Furthermore, as we indicated when considering social organisations, they also have responsibility, shared with other social stakeholders in the appraisal of the impacts of the innovative processes.