Innovating is hard work. Perhaps the most difficult aspect is dealing with the anxiety that comes with following a systematic process. The process forces innovators to start with uncomfortable, abstract concepts that seem silly and worthless. These are called preinventive concepts because they occur right before the moment of innovating. Successful innovators learn how to deal with ambiguity and control the anxiety at this critical moment of invention. But there is a catch: some of us are better at it than others. Fortunately, there is a way to determine if you are more or less anxiety-ridden from these effects.
Creativity is what you do in your head to generate an idea, while innovation is the process of putting it into practice. You need both to succeed, which may be why the number of new books on these topics seems to grow every year. Yet despite the popularity of this category and the steady stream of new books, I continue to go back to the classics, those books that actually taught me how to do it versus those books that just talked about it. Caution – these are not “light reads,” but they’re the ones I’ve learned the most from.