Creativity and Innovation: Differences, Examples & Definitions

9 min read


single post blog featured image

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.

Creativity and innovation are essential drivers of organizational success, fostering growth, adaptability, and competitiveness in dynamic markets. Our Innovation consulting plays a pivotal role in this process, providing strategic guidance, frameworks, and expertise to harness creativity effectively, enhance opportunity identification, and implement innovative solutions that propel businesses forward in a rapidly evolving landscape.

The Only Book On Innovation You’ll Ever Need

+FREE access to 50+ complimentary download packages covering the details with plenty of helpful background information

Creativity vs Innovation: What is the difference between Creativity and Innovation?

Unique and individualRepeatable and scalable
Differences between Creativity & Innovation

The distinctions between creativity and innovation are important for anyone looking to inspire 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.

Related: Innovative Thinking: Skills, Definitions & Strategies

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.

Types of Innovation

  • 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.
4 Types of Innovation
4 Types of Innovation

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 transformation of model, the book is full of useful canvases and checklists that you can put to work for you on day one.

The Only Book On Innovation You’ll Ever Need

+FREE access to 50+ complimentary download packages covering the details with plenty of helpful background information

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.

Related: Innovation vs Invention: Definition, Difference & Importance

The invention is an 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, and 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.

Business Model Innovation Patterns
The UNITE Business Model Innovation Patterns
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Building on the 10 types of innovation from Doblin, the SS Business Models from the University of St.Gallen, and the Business Model Gallery

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.

Related: Business Model Innovation – How to Innovate Your Business Model?

Critics of this approach may then ask, but where does the beauty and creativity of innovation 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.

Innovation Strategy Execution Framework
The UNITE Strategy-Execution Framework
Designed By: Digital Leadership AG

Closing Thoughts

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

Business Model framework
THE UNITE Business Model Framework
Designed By: Digital Leadership AG

Related Posts

50 Innovation Examples: Exciting Innovative Ideas in Business

In the Business environment, strategic innovation has taken centre stage as a1

View Full article

Innovation Strategy: Developing Innovative Strategies in Business

Innovation has become an imperative for organizations worldwide, yet the multitude of1

View Full article

“Innovation Coaching” An Inside Look at The Catalyst for Organization Change

Huston, we have a problem  In today's business, the drive towards innovation1

View Full article

Business Level Strategy Examples & Types for Corporate Strategy Success

In business, the right business strategy can make or break success. Business-level1

View Full article

Innovation vs Invention: Definition, Difference & Importance

The terms "invention" and "innovation" are frequently used interchangeably, which is not1

View Full article

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Examples and Definition

The MVP or Minimum Viable Product approach is an idea that was1

View Full article

What is Design Thinking? Definition, Explanation & Process

With Design Thinking, new and innovative ideas can be generated together and1

View Full article

Growth Hacking Examples, Definition and Strategies for Business Growth

Growth Hacking is a term invented by Sean Ellis. According to him,1

View Full article

Scrum Theory Full Guide 2024: Meaning, Benefits and Examples

Scrum is a framework that helps people, organizations, and teams address complex1

View Full article

Important But Underserved Customer Needs: How to Identify?

Creating products and services that yield more profits largely depends on understanding1

View Full article

Digital Business Strategy Examples, Definition, and Strategies

In a time marked by rapid technological evolution and unprecedented interconnectedness, businesses1

View Full article

Kanban vs Scrum: What is The Difference Between Them?

Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban: All these terms describe very similar project management1

View Full article

Creative Destruction in Economics Definition & Examples

Creative destruction is a concept introduced by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter1

View Full article

Innovation Ecosystem Guide for Successful Innovation Strategy

Creating a successful innovation ecosystem in business has become the secret sauce1

View Full article

Innovative Thinking Meaning, Skills & Strategies

Innovation is a key driver of success in today's fast-paced and highly1

View Full article

Top 8 Business Model Canvas Examples in 2024

Innovation experts agree that the Business Model Canvas is the best tool1

View Full article

Business Capability Map Model for Mapping Business Capabilities

To create successful innovations, it's crucial to leverage the existing strengths of1

View Full article

Pains and Gains: Understanding Your Customer Needs

The value proposition of any successful business is deeply tied to the1

View Full article

Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) For Putting JTBD Theory into Action

Outcome-driven innovation (ODI) is a strategic approach that operationalizes the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD)1

View Full article

Customer Experience Design and Digital Innovation

In this article, Digital Leadership AG partner Patrick Zimmermann explores the concept1

View Full article

Business Plan Roadmap: Building Your Path to Business Success

In today's fast-paced entrepreneurial landscape, a meticulously crafted business plan functions as1

View Full article

Open Innovation Examples, Definition, and Challenges

In business and technology, open innovation is a type of innovation that1

View Full article

How to Measure Innovation: Understanding Innovation Metrics for Companies

Innovation is the elixir of life in capitalism. Trying to survive on1

View Full article

Unfair Advantage: What is it, and how do you find yours?

Every business, everywhere, is hoping it can provide something to customers that1

View Full article

Idea Generation Strategies For Driving Innovation and Growth

Idea Generation springs into existence where business acumen and raw creativity meet1

View Full article

Importance of Creativity and Innovation in Business Environment

When you embrace and nurture creativity within a business environment, you open1

View Full article

Brand Innovation: A Strategic Guide to Transformative Growth

Innovation stands as the cornerstone of success in business, it's the process1

View Full article

Radical Innovation Meaning, Examples and Characteristics

Radical innovation is the main type of innovation that involves the integration1

View Full article

Incremental Innovation Definition, Examples, and Benefits

In the business environment, innovation emerges as a multifaceted force, and understanding1

View Full article

Types of Innovation With Choosing the Right Innovation Type Guide

Understanding the various types of innovation holds significant importance. Innovation extends beyond1

View Full article

Jobs To Be Done Examples, Theory, Framework, Templates & Statements

Remaining responsive to customer needs has become a pivotal element in driving1

View Full article

The Innovation Process: 10-Step Process to Successful Innovation

In the modern business environment, where change is the only constant, embracing1

View Full article

Digital Innovation: Guide to Digital Innovation Strategy Steps

Digital innovation and transformation are the driving forces behind meaningful and sustainable1

View Full article

What is the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Relationship?

The Innovation-Entrepreneurship Relationship Entrepreneurship and innovation are closely related but distinct concepts.1

View Full article

18 Disruptive Innovation Examples 2023

Introduction to Disruptive Innovation In the dynamic landscape of business, building a1

View Full article

Innovation & Book Launch Event – A Retrospective

The Event On Thursday, March 2nd, I had the pleasure of inviting1

View Full article

Ambidextrous Organization: Examples, Definition, Levels & Benefits

Ambidextrous organizations are a concept that has been gaining traction in the1

View Full article

Jobs to Be Done Framework: A Roadmap to Customer Satisfaction

How should you structure your business most efficiently? The best way to1

View Full article

Innovation Lifecycle: Understanding the Curve & the Cycle of Innovation

Depending on which explanation you want to follow, innovation can be divided1

View Full article

Rapid Prototyping – Techniques, Benefits, Tools & Softwares

After we have dealt intensively with Product Management and the Minimum Viable1

View Full article

Digitalization Consulting – What You Can Expect From A Qualified Digital Consultant

Digital transformation is complex and broad. A qualified digital consultant accompanies you1

View Full article

Corporates & Startups: How To Collaborate in an Open Ecosystem

Corporate and startup collaborations, like any other collaboration, require learning from both1

View Full article

How Do You Innovate Your Business Model?

Business model innovation is essential for the success of every business in1

View Full article

Digitalization: How to Use Digital Innovation to Grow Your Business

You cannot speak about innovation without discussing digitalization in context. Today, almost1

View Full article

How Innovation Training Can Transform Your Organization

How to create a culture of innovation? Innovation training is key to1

View Full article

Four Waves of Economic Development and Industrial Revolution

Everything You Need to Know About the Four Waves of Economic Development1

View Full article

Examples of Innovation Flops that you can learn from – Digital Leadership

Why do innovations flop? A lot of entrepreneurs innovate in the wrong1

View Full article

Innovative Technology & Technological Innovation in Europe – Digital Leadership

Innovation and innovative technology are of fundamental importance for Europe's economic and1

View Full article