Classical perspectives on creativity and innovation

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Business today is intensely focussed on innovation, but what do we mean when we talk about ‘innovation’ and how do people innovate in practice? Standard approaches tend to involve case studies of innovative companies, where styles of innovation can differ markedly depending on the size, sector, and orientation of the business. Questions of creativity are approached in a variety of ways, ranging from methods of enhancing personal creativity to techniques of creative engagement for teams and corporations.

But are there enduring principles of innovation, and if so what are they? One stimulus to creativity is to step away from one’s immediate focus: listening to music and engaging with historical issues offer forms of such detachment. A focus on classical Greece brings one in contact with notable stories of innovation (the Greeks invented, among other things, the alphabet, money, and logic), while classical music of the 18th and 19th centuries provides clear examples of how creators build on the past to make something new. This talk aims to combine both approaches to present ‘classical perspectives’ on creativity and innovation.