What is the difference between innovation and creativity?

The terms “creativity” and “innovation” are frequently used interchangeably. While there is some overlap between them, they are distinct. It’s critical to comprehend and implement this distinction in your innovation strategy.

The act of inventing something new, whether it’s a variant on a theme or something entirely new, is known as creativity. The act of putting something into practice is known as innovation. It’s the difference between imagining a vehicle that could travel through space and actually constructing a rocket that people can ride into space.

It’s all about using the mind’s power to come up with new ideas, products, thought experiments, tastes, experiences, or art. Creativity can be used to express oneself or to solve difficulties. Anyone, in any situation, can be creative. In the marketing department, just as on the football field, there is room for inventiveness.

The majority of firms choose a traditional and monotonous approach to running their organizations, leaving creativity to those “wacky” corporations who are consciously striving to do things differently. Companies are beginning to consider a more innovative approach to working as a result of the shifting business landscape.

What’s the deal with the muddle? One normally follows the other, and the two usually nest together. Consider how frequently a new invention is referred to as both “innovative” and “creative.” Consider how the “space dividend” from a slew of parts and materials created to solve a specific problem yielded research and ideas that allowed people to reach new creative heights, and then put those heights into practice. You benefit from NASA and other space agencies’ inventiveness and innovation if you use a memory foam bed, scratch-resistant sunglasses, take a picture, or put an LED light into a lamp.

Is it possible to innovate without being creative? Curiosity or a desire to know why may be a powerful force in the same way that you can create something only to see what happens. Innovation, on the other hand, is most effective when it is focused toward a specific objective. Creativity aids in the discovery of the objective, while innovation allows you to achieve it. So, how can you put this intellectual deluge to work for you?

You can demonstrate creativity by holding a brainstorming session and coming up with dozens of new ideas, but there will be no innovation unless anything is done. For a creative idea to become an invention, someone must take a risk and deliver something. A product, device, or process that has never been seen before is an invention. As a result, every invention is a new idea. However, not every innovation is a creation. Even though many other websites already existed at the time, your company’s initial website was a significant breakthrough.

We often associate innovation with a new product, but it can also refer to a new process, approach, business model, alliance, route to market, or marketing strategy. Every area of your company’s operations, in fact, is ripe for innovation. As a result, don’t limit your idea of innovation to products. Business tactics and customer service are two of the most powerful changes you can create. When we look at firms like Dell, eBay, and Amazon, we can see that they innovated more with their business strategies than with new goods.

There are two types of innovations: gradual and radical. Incremental innovation can be defined as any enhancement you make to your products or services. The majority of organizations and managers excel at incremental innovation. They identify and correct flaws in the current setup. Finding an altogether new method to do things is what radical innovation entails. As a result, they’re frequently dangerous and difficult to put into practice.

The most prevalent sort of innovation is evolutionary, which entails finding methods to improve your products and services incrementally. This form of innovation has fewer risks because establishing demand for these enhancements and calculating the anticipated return on investment is often easier. However, a planned, targeted approach is still required; there’s no purpose in upgrading a product in a way that customers don’t value.

Talking to existing consumers and learning what they appreciate most about your products and services, as well as what parts they’d like to see improved, is the ideal method to identify chances for evolutionary innovation. If extended battery life is their top priority, it should probably be your top innovation target as well. If customers also appreciate the product’s portability, though, making your new version substantially larger or heavier is generally not a good choice.

In business, utilizing both creativity and innovation can help to improve performance and the bottom line. However, you must first create space for both to occur. Allowing employees to work outside the office or allowing them to come into and leave the office when they’re ready, rather than when they’re anticipated, are all ways to encourage creativity. The workplace atmosphere must be conducive to creativity, and there are several ways to alter the working environment to complement individuals’ abilities.

It’s critical to give employees leeway when it comes to trying out new ideas, whether it’s adjusting an existing product or coming up with a completely new concept. Involve the team, assign responsibility, recognize and reward exceptional performance, and be ready to respond to market input. Remember that, no matter how brilliant your ideas and innovations are, they must still meet a client need.

Great ideas don’t always come from the most engaged, optimistic people, but they do tend to come from them. They don’t arise from bored or anxious employees. Brainstorming sessions can generate great ideas, but forcing them out might be harmful. Great ideas are more likely to strike when an issue arises that requires a solution, or even when an employee is driving home from work and reflecting about their day.

The goal is to harness your company’s culture and processes to capture these ideas as they occur, regardless of where they originate. Staff suggestion boxes and designated creative time can be effective, but sometimes all that is needed is a clear word from the boss that all ideas are welcome.

Check out my related post: How does being too busy kills creativity?

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