The Real Difference Between Creativity and Innovation

A great idea is good, but is it creative or innovative?

If you are creative, you enjoy a good challenge. You can come up with new concepts on the fly. You accept the change. But do all of these things make you innovative? While creativity and innovation are often used interchangeably, there are some notable differences between the two. It’s important to understand these distinctions and adjust your innovation strategy accordingly, so we have “The Real Difference Between Creativity and Innovation.”

Creativity vs. Innovation

  • Creativity and innovation are not the same, but they complement each other. In fact, one cannot function without the other.
  • The main difference between creativity and innovation is that the former refers to conceiving a new idea, while the latter involves turning that idea into a marketable product.
  • Creativity is the act of conceiving something new, be it a variation on an existing theme or something totally original. Innovation is the act of putting that concept into practice. It’s the difference between suggesting the idea that a plane could fly through space and building a rocket that astronauts can use to get to the moon.
  • Better to think of it this way: creativity is coming up with what innovation is implementing.
  • If it’s that simple, why all the confusion? Why are new inventions often called “innovative” and “creative” during business brainstorming sessions?
  • Take the construction of that rocket, for example. The “spatial dividend” of a myriad of parts and materials created to solve a particular problem produced research and ideas that enabled people to reach new creative heights and then harness the power of those ideas to build a rocket.
  • If you wear a memory foam bed, scratch resistant sunglasses, take a photo, or put an LED light on a lamp, you are the beneficiary of the creativity and innovation of NASA and several other space agencies. So can there be innovation? without creativity? Can you build something just to see what happens or just out of curiosity? In short, yes. However, innovation is strongest when it is directed towards a goal. Creativity helps you find the goal and innovation allows you to achieve it.
The real difference between creativity and innovation - Watering a plant shaped like a human brain.
Both creativity and innovation must be nurtured.

The flow of innovation

Creativity is critical during the goal stages of your innovation program. Note that these goals do not have to include broad, world-wide approaches. A creative goal can be modest.

Let’s say you have a creative vision to reinvent the car. Along the way, you will have to reinvent all the systems within the car (most likely), you will have to produce creative solutions every step of the way, and then innovate to reach your goal.

This means that you will be constantly using creativity throughout the innovation process. It can be used as a way to solve problems or it can be a new way to rephrase the problem. Look no further than the many electric vehicles that are about to hit the market.

Replacing the battery and the motor has led to a lot of changes. Ford’s electric F-150 can now haul a million pounds. Electric vehicles can be built on a “skateboard” platform, so models are experimenting with “frunks” (trunks in the front), “driveways” to hide safety gear, and even interchangeable frames.

Creativity has even led to rethinking the transit itself. There are concepts like folding cars that can be flipped open, cars with spherical tires that eliminate parallel parking, and more.

The real difference between creativity and innovation
Difference between creativity and innovation

Why do you need creativity and innovation in business

Both creativity and innovation play an important role in any business venture. After all, standard practices and business models are constantly changing and eventually becoming obsolete. Successful entrepreneurs realize this and excel at finding new opportunities. They are problem solvers by nature and are always looking for new solutions to everyday problems.

We cannot stress enough the importance of differentiation. And if you want to differentiate your product or service, managing creativity and innovation is essential.

The most creative ideas are generated by connecting dots that most would not dream of connecting, driven by a deep understanding of what consumers really want and need.

That is why there is a growing demand for skills like creativity that can help drive human innovation to the next level.

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