Creativity is not enough is an excellent article of Theodore Levitt, professor emeritus at Harvard Business School.
Suppose you know two artists. One tells you an idea for a great painting, but he does not paint it. The other has the same idea and paints it. You could easily say the second man is a great creative artist. But could you say the same thing of the first man? Obviously not. He is a talker, not a painter.
That is precisely the problem with so much of today’s pithy praise of creativity in business—with the unending flow of speeches, books, articles, and “creativity workshops” whose purpose is to produce more imaginative and creative managers and companies. My observations of these activities over a number of years lead me firmly to this conclusion. They mistake an idea for a great painting with the great painting itself. They mistake brilliant talk for constructive action.
The fact that you can put a dozen inexperienced people into a room and conduct a brainstorming session that produces exciting new ideas shows how little relative importance ideas themselves actually have.
Whatever the goals of a business may be, it must make money. To do that, it must get things done. But having ideas is seldom equivalent to getting things done in the business or organizational sense. Ideas do not implement themselves—neither in business nor in art, science, philosophy, politics, love, war. People implement ideas.