Three words that have always been difficult to describe: imagination1, creativity2, and innovation3. Are these characteristics inherent to humans? It would indeed be preposterous to say that. Living beings-animals, plants, and microbes all have demonstrated these capabilities. When required, all the living creatures have demonstrated their abilities to survive in the harshest conditions. During the millennia, living beings have adapted themselves to new conditions on the planet earth. The struggle for survival has often shown us the paths rarely taken as well as the advantages and the risks associated with them.
What is imagination? Is it thinking about non-existing objects and events? Is it the one approach that statistically speaking, only one person in a group would have taken? When do we call particular thinking an imagination? Is it called an imagination when the size of the group is too large? Going by this definition, we may exclude the imagination of the young ones in schools and colleges. We know that young minds are highly creative, despite thier little exposure to world knowledge. Does imagination require some prior exposure to the imagined concept in another context or environment? Is the imagined concept quite common in the other environment or context?
Does imagination lead to creativity? What is creativity? Is it a novel approach to solving a given problem? Could we call any novel approach creative? At what moment are we convinced about the creativity of a being or a solution? Going by the above definition of imagination, is it the statistically rare approach taken in a large group of beings? Is creativity subjective? Is it based on the knowledge of the experts asked to evaluate a given task? If that is the case, the knowledge of the evaluator(s) needs to be known and all the existing solutions for a given problem must be known to anybody evaluating the evaluator’s report.
Does creativity lead to innovation? Are all creative ideas innovative? Innovation requires a significant betterment of the existing solutions. This would mean simplicity of the solution, accessibility, ease of use, reduction of time, efficient use of space, or reduction of energy use. Unlike creativity, there are several ways to measure and evaluate innovative solutions. If the measures are carefully chosen by domain experts, an innovative idea may not be considered subjective. Anybody can compare the state before and after the use of an innovative tool and technology.
Thus we could measure innovation, but creativity is usually subjective, and imagination has no bounds. Nevertheless, these three are interlinked.