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Unleash Your Creativity for Portfolio Success

What’s the difference between innovation and creativity? It’s a valid question, since the two tend to be intermingled in the common parlance. But the difference matters in the world of project portfolio management. As Jen Skrabak writes in a post for Voices on Project Management, a simple exercise that unleashes your creativity can substantially improve your portfolio prospects.

Thinking versus Doing

To answer the question, “What’s the difference between innovation and creativity?” Skrabak defers to Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt, who explained it, “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” Portfolio management enables innovation because it puts creative ideas, projects, and programs to work for the organization.

Getting the Right Idea

Again quoting Levitt, “Ideas are useless unless used.” Yet turning ideas into reality isn’t quite enough at the organizational level. You have to put the right ideas into practice, and that’s where PPM comes into play:

Portfolio management translates the right ideas into reality within the confines of the organizations. It’s about order, process, structure and ROI.

But too much order (or put differently, too narrow a vantage point) can hinder the creativity available to project practitioners. Skrabak uses the example of drawing a coffee cup. Most would draw the cup from a side angle, because that’s the standard image. But looking at the same object from a different vantage point yields an entirely different understanding of the object while sending a noticeably different message. Ultimately, this exercise in adopting alternative vantage points offers an avenue into additional creative insight. Try it!

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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