What is ‘Big I’ innovation & ‘little i’ innovation?

What is ‘Big I’ innovation & ‘little i’ innovation?

Some writers and academics have differentiated between Big C – creativity and little c types.

For example, Csikszentmihalyi differentiates between big-C creativity and little-c creativity.

The big-C creative person is eminent, a person whose work is well known by people in a particular field.

The little-c creative person is not.

Big-C creativity leads to the transformation of a domain.

Little-c creativity is used in everyday life, as in problem solving.’

This is also a good way to think about innovation:

There are the ‘BIG I’ type innovation e.g. new ipad

And ‘small i innovation’ — e.g. enhancing the customer experience.

Or what I call small wins innovation.

Both are important.

Small ‘i innovation’ is often the most ignored.

But most ‘big innovation’ comes from small ideas that have been tested, changed and improved.

Smaller ‘i innovation’ is also more frequent as leaders can hone and improve their skills and build a more innovative culture.

It also means that many more people can play.


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