Creativity and Innovation: Differences, Examples & Definitions
Published: 04 October, 2022
Innovation teams are a community of autonomous individuals with the ability to integrate and promote different mindsets and leverage their potential in order to reach a common goal. They have a high degree of self-leadership; people are seen in their wholeness, and structures are flexibly and autonomously adapted accordingly. This focus on connected but autonomous meaning-making is what provides the space for true co-creativity and innovation.
Our latest book, How to Create Innovation, is loaded with checklists and canvases that you can use immediately to broaden your organization’s reach and inspire creativity and innovation. It’s the first end-to-end guide for propelling companies forward through business model development. It’s available now!
What is the difference between Creativity and Innovation?
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The distinctions between creativity and innovation are important for anyone looking to inspire either in their company. Understanding the nuanced difference between creativity and innovation will help managers devise a plan that makes room for both. We have some simple definitions we rely on to make the distinction clear.
Creativity is a thought process that, in the best case, leads to an extraordinary and unique idea. Creativity is a cognitive exercise, similar to inspiration. The light bulb moment of realization. Creativity usually includes a motivating push to bring something to the real world, but we believe the incident of creativity ends right at the point in which the thing is being made.
Because Innovation is the process by which this inspiration for a new product or service becomes actually tangible. It happens in the real world. Innovation is a method, a device, a system that is enacted. While it doesn’t have to be one particular thing, it has to be real. For example, a new factory machine that uses less energy is clearly innovation, but so is a more streamlined pathway for company communication.
What is Innovation?
Of Innovation, author and educator Peter Drucker said,
“Innovation is the specific function of entrepreneurship, whether in an existing business, a public service institution, or a new venture started by a lone individual in the family kitchen. It is the means by which the entrepreneur either creates new wealth-producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth.”Peter Drucker
Through Innovation, we bring ideas into the world so they can make a tangible impact. The end result of true Innovation is something that can be marketed as a product or service.
- Incremental Innovation: Adding features or capabilities to an existing product one at a time
- Architectural Innovation: Applying existing technology or expertise to a new market.
- Disruptive Innovation: Applying new technologies, processes, or business models to existing industries.
- Radical Innovation: The rarest of all innovation types, entirely new technologies or products are created for entirely new markets.
How to Create Innovation is the new book from the people behind Digital Leadership. In it, you’ll find practical guidance for directing your company’s innovation and transformation efforts. Written by experts in the field of business model transformation, the book is full of useful canvases and checklists that you can put to work for you on day one.
What is Creativity?
Artists, philosophers, educators, and psychologists have long tried to write a simple definition of creativity. Its very nature is elusive, which makes describing it a challenge. We know it’s the process through which something new is formed, and typically, most definitions assume value is included with the new creation.
We agree that there are four different types of Creativity, each a different blend of specific attributes and approaches.
Types of Creativity
- Deliberate and Cognitive: The Creativity of planning and expertise. Creativity with a purpose.
- Deliberate And Emotional: Where logic meets emotion. The Creativity of both an open mind and an open heart.
- Spontaneous and Cognitive: Knowledge relies on inspiration for a “Eureka!” moment. The Creativity of preparation and perfect timing.
- Spontaneous And Emotional: The Creativity of the unconscious. Ideas arrive when we least expect them, so we have to be ready.
What is Invention?
Most business consultants agree that Invention is the act of creating something new. In a business context, Invention has nothing to do with marketing, sales, or the continued success of a company.
Invention is unchecked, unpurposed creation. Innovation takes Invention and turns it into a commodity.
Importance of Creativity and Innovation
Creativity and Innovation are important to your business because they ensure that your customers are having their needs met and your company has a secure future. Because they are both necessary for the long-term health of both your business and your customers’ community, decision-makers must make deliberate choices that support both processes.
Creativity and Innovation in Business
During Creativity, we seek to find new ways of combining patterns, constructing new ones, solving problems in ways that have never been tried before. During Innovation, we take the fruits of Creativity and find ways to bring them to the market profitably.
Working with Business Models Patterns will allow you to develop new combinations in a structured manner. First, the process will help you to break with your dominant industry logic. Then, you can adapt the pattern to your company’s specific context and so create an innovative variant. Your own ideas and creativity are as essential at this point as challenging your Business Model against other patterns.
Critics of this approach may then ask, but where does the beauty and creativity of innovation then lie? Isn’t this simply producing copies? The innovation lies in the understanding, translation, recombination and transfer of successful patterns to your own industry and challenges. You may end up with the same result without using a system such as the one we present, but then you are leaving a lot up to luck.
How Do Creativity and Innovation Drive Digital Transformation?
Contrary to popular opinion, digital transformation is not just about technology. It’s more about your business strategy, data, process, creativity, innovation, and people. Digital transformation does not occur overnight; it takes consistency in building strategic roadmaps. You can start slowly by transforming the critical areas of your business to achieve your desired outcome. No doubt, in this digital era, the only way for your business to thrive is to embrace digital transformation for enhanced business creativity and innovation.
The nuanced differences between Innovation, Invention, and Creativity may seem unimportant, but for those companies looking to fully capture their potential for transformation and exponential growth, the definitions and examples we’ve provided here should help clarify whatever confusion there might be.
We wish you all the best in your continued efforts to bring your organization forward.
The UNITE Business Model Framework: A Framework for Innovation Success
How to Create Innovation includes a number of canvases that focus on value creation and finding the right business model to meet your customer segment and customer needs. The framework is built to inspire drastic changes that help you find a competitive advantage. Our hope is that your company grows through business model innovation, and so we again encourage you to look deeper into our website and the book.
Here is a summary of the key ingredients of the Business Model Framework:
The centerpiece is the Business Model Canvas, which covers the six main areas of a Business Model (the Operating, Value, Service, Experience, Cost, and Revenue Models).
A Business Model can be broken out into its numerous aspects. Depending on what challenges you face, you can zoom in on your area of interest using an appropriate tool or canvas:
- Your Business Intention and objectives as well as your Massive Transformative Purpose summarize your drivers and give direction to what you do.
- The Value Proposition Canvas details the central components of your offering (the product or service).
- To dig into your Customer Segments, work with data-driven Personas.
- The JTBD Customer Job Statement and Job Map frame the JTBD of your customers.
- The Business Model Environment puts your Business Model in a market context composed of emerging trends and disruptive forces.
- The Innovation Culture Canvas helps you understand and consciously shape a culture that supports innovation.
- The Innovation team structure enables you to draft a team structure for your innovation initiative.
- Using learning and growth metrics, you can measure progress at the initial stages of development. These metrics help you focus on what really matters instead of creating a detailed business plan that will not really help you. Later on, you can expand the financial aspect of the Revenue and Cost Models with a full business case.
- The Operating Model Canvas helps you think through the Operating Model.
- Business Capability Map: A Practical Business Approach