Creativity and innovation are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually mean different things. Creativity is a state of mind—it’s a way of thinking, making and behaving that involves fusing diverse insights and emotions into an idea that feels meaningful and new. An innovation is the fruit of creativity; it’s typically a product or service that solves a problem in a new way and offers value to its user. Creativity and innovation go hand in hand and are both essential to business growth. Let’s take a better look at both.
What is Creativity?
People tend to think of creativity as an inherent trait that you’re either born with or can never hope to have. Interestingly, many typically “creative” people—artists, designers, inventors—give little thought or credence to the notion of creativity at all. Instead, they often describe their processes as being exploratory, investigative, even playful. A choreographer might want to explore what the emotion of sadness feels like as it moves through her body, and this exploration could produce a compelling sequence of dance that evokes tragedy. An architect might want to figure out how to flood a bedroom with sunlight and design an unusual windowless dormer with a flat skylight. In other words, creative work doesn’t necessarily begin with anything whimsical or visionary, but with simple curiosity and a willingness to experiment.
Creativity is fueled by unorthodox thinking and colored by emotion. It’s about finding links between ideas and themes that aren’t immediately obvious, and then extrapolating them onto different subjects for different goals. It’s about drawing on your knowledge, experience, feelings, and insights and combining them to inspire new possibilities that challenge old norms.
What is Innovation?
An innovation is the implementation or realization of a creative idea, usually in the form of a product or service. In business, it’s the part of the development process that delivers real revenue and profit. People tend to get hung up on the “novel” inside innovation (it derives its root from the latin novus, meaning new), associating the term exclusively with something groundbreaking, unprecedented or wild. In reality, an innovation can simply be a useful modification to an old way of performing a task. So long as it adds genuine value to a user, an innovation can be modest and doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel—at least, not every time!
Why are Creativity and Innovation important to your business?
In today’s business world, the importance of building a culture of innovation is widely understood and accepted. With customers having more and more options at their fingertips, it’s essential that your products and services anticipate their wants and needs, while offering more than the competition. At ExperiencePoint, we teach an innovation method that is swift, repeatable and scalable; it can be rolled out to a small group of executives or delivered to vast swathes of a company at once.
Creativity, on the other hand, is neither repeatable nor scalable. Its lifeblood is the very uniqueness and individuality of different human beings. And yet, as we’ve explored in this post, creativity fuels innovation, even if it’s a little more slippery to practice and get better at it.
There are many ways to activate your imagination and tap into your creative resources. In our next post, we’ll look at four key ways that you can increase your creativity at work. Stay tuned!