To be taken seriously, should advice giving innovation consultants be innovators themselves?

Gregg Fraley and I both are  of the opinion that a non-creative innovation consultant who knows the theory, but doesn’t get his hands dirty, has no business in giving game-changing advice.

Via Gregg Fraley in response to this article about creativity gurus:

Interesting that even the experts don’t really know how, exactly, to be more creative. A nicely written, humorous, and thoughtful piece.

When I saw his response, I couldn’t help myself and not respond. Here is my on-going response with Gregg (from Facebook):

Not difficult to separate the posers from the rest. Litmus test question: If you are not innovative with self, then how you can you help others become innovative?

I respect people who walk the talk. If you behave this way, it means you are not afraid to fail. How much is a non-creative creativity consultant risking by regurgitating what is being said in books and everywhere else? Nothing.

Also, innovation is about making things better, and if the person who is advising/challenging you on how to make things better doesn’t act this way, then he/she has no business giving advice on what they don’t do themselves.

I know a couple of people in my neck of the woods who “sell innovation” and know for a fact that they are running around with frameworks from other people. For me, if you are truly committed to innovation, then you have to challenge the status-quo. That means best practices. And, if you can’t identify when you are simply regurgitating best practices, then why would I expect you to challenge and stretch my thinking?

YES! I’ve never had a great idea come out of using frameworks and tools. Nor have I heard of any game-changing business be born in a strategic planning session where frameworks were used. I understand their value in helping people think, but, true advantage is cognitive.

Tools don’t make a great mind, but a fluid and adaptable mind makes frameworks irrelevant.

Of course, this is a daunting challenge for anyone and even more daunting for an organization.

Do you think creativity/innovation consultants should be held to a higher standard?

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