Innovation: Transforming your personal story into actionable gifts to the world

But what is innovation?

In a recent interview, I was asked about the difference between innovation and creativity. Reflecting on my design background, creativity for me is learning to observe the world — not just the physical world but also interpersonal relationships. It’s a skill of connecting the dots, not just visually but in ways that can draw connections, ask questions and imagine countless possibilities. It’s being open and not thinking within the parameters but instead, spotting the elements within and finding ways to expand on it with a lot of imagination. It’s thinking out of the box, looking at the infinity beyond the circle. Innovation, on the other hand, is closely linked to creativity but I think it comes with that level of understanding of the environment we live in because then, we can identify the problems and gaps that we can work on to innovate. I thought about this further and came up with this diagram.

Innovation: Knowing your personal story | Fié Neo

The importance of knowing your personal story in innovation.

Entrepreneurship and innovation come from passion. I worked for start ups as well as in the social sector. You can’t sustain start ups or social organisations without immense passion, clear purpose and tremendous drive. Resources are scarce, pressure is high, you are responsible for the livelihoods of your employees. When I talk to founders, the first thing they talk about is often their journey. What was it in their life experiences that motivated them to start a company or organisation that serves a certain purpose or goal? Their life stories are integral to their innovation. It’s in understanding the self, the environment and the interpersonal relationships that the energy within crystallises into actionable gifts to the world. Innovation comes from doing things differently. To do things differently means to challenge the status quo, to break the still of water. Change always comes with resistance. You need that much conviction and passion to push through those blockages and overcome the resistance. So, know your story.

Entrepreneurship after innovation

Innovation on its own is a skill of understanding the world we live in, internalising our context (socio-economical and environmental influences) to be able to identify the problems we care about and using creativity to solve problems. Entrepreneurship is the next step for your innovation to find its place in the world and create sustainable livelihoods. It is a journey to balance profit, purpose and people. Your entrepreneurship journey starts with your pitch so craft your personal story well because you will need it.

Innovation, entrepreneurship and the personal | Fié Neo

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fié neo

fié neo

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Fié Neo is an interdisciplinary artist and intersectional thinker. Instagram @feeyeh_neo | Podcast: OnionsTalk