The destructive creativity

La chasse au lion by Rubens. Credit: Public Domain
La chasse au lion by Rubens. Credit: Public Domain

Schumpeter introduced the concept of creative destruction to illustrate the process of innovation in the economy. He thought that the innovations of entrepreneurs are the force driving a sustainable economic growth. The change of an old economic concept for a new one is what lets capitalism to preserve itself.

Creativity is the ability to use skill and imagination to produce something new. Creativity is the basement of intelligence, research and development, and finally innovation. Intelligence is opposite to brute force. In the business field, brute force could be seen as the ability to use strength to produce the same thing at the highest level.

The domain of mankind all over the world is evidence showing that intelligence is above the brute force on the long term, however, this does not imply that intelligence can defeat brute force always. The response of brute force can be produced instantly; however, the response of creativity in a competition or fight can require a more elaborated process consuming a certain amount of time.

Large organizations are strong and they have a lot of inertia in their actions. A creative process cannot change the behavior of any organization instantly. Some time and some effort are required to introduce any innovation anywhere.

Creativity can emerge spontaneously; however, innovation is a process that requires support. Schumpeter realized that innovation must be supported by credit. Credit is providing the time required in order that the creative process can fight against brute force, in the same way as if a prehistoric man could not win a fight against a lion with his own hands he would search for a cave where he can make a lance.

We look at innovation always as something positive for the organization that lets to get competitive advantages in markets. This is the outer effect of innovation. However, it has an inner effect too equally destructive. The organization must be readapted in order to take advantage of the creative process, but the organizational inertia is a barrier against any change of behavior.

The process of intrapreneurship is very different to the process of entrepreneurship because Schumpeter’s creative destruction is being applied on the environment that is providing the credit for your innovation. Your source of time for your creative process will be destroyed by it in order to build something new, unlike in the case of common entrepreneurship where the source of time (the bank) will get its benefit increased.

It is important to notice that creativity is destructive itself in order to notice the need of putting limits to the creative process. Following the previous fable, lions attack when they are hungry and if our community of humans drains all their sources of food because we have made a lot of lances for all our people, the probability that they attack humans would be increased.

In other words, innovation is process that must be managed always, but it is especially true in the case of intrapreneurship. We must assure that our lances are used for hunting and killing dangerous lions instead of being used against other humans inside our community.

This can be well understood using complexity analysis. Complexity analysis lets us to see how the resilience of our business is improved when we introduce an innovation. It would let to perceive if the creative process is being used in a bad way that decreases our resilience instead of increasing it, and it would let to analyze our business with its environment in order to test if the fragility is reduced or increased.


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