Creativity and innovation are the two terms that are often used interchangeably in business meetings, sessions that involve brainstorming, university lectures, Ted Talks and, in various firms’ corporate mission and vision statements. These two, however, are not the same and it is very crucial to learn the difference between the two to be able to put the two concepts in practice in a better way. Creativity and innovation are significantly distinguished from each other but both are highly valued, prized, and needed in an organization for efficiency and effectiveness of the organization to meet its corporate goals and objectives. So what is the difference between creativity and innovation?
What is Creativity?
Creativity can simply be understood as the cognitive ability of an individual to see, perceive, think and analyze things differently and uniquely often by coming up with new imaginative ideas that do not exist in the current systems and processes. Companies prefer and want to hire creative individuals who could bring new ideas and values which would help change the already existing, accepted, and believed patterns of behavior by bringing novelty.
What is the difference between creativity and innovation?
As mentioned above, creativity is the art of being unique and different but innovation is the art of implementing the change by putting the ideas that go inside the mind in practice. While creativity is mostly abstract, innovation is more action and results-oriented. The main difference between the two is just the focus. In the business world, performance is the most important because it helps to measure success. Hence, anything that helps to improve performance is valuable to organizational success. Creativity is mostly subjective and abstract as it involves ideas and thoughts that go in a person's mind making it hard to measure and evaluate. Innovation, on the other hand, can be measured and evaluated as it is action-oriented. Innovation does not need to be drastic or dramatic. Any slight change in the previously practiced norms and traditions, or slight tweaking in processes, and systems could be an innovation.
The difference between the two concepts can further be understood by what Hunter said in the Business News Daily. He stated, if the employees of an organization sit together in a brainstorming session and come up with numerous new ideas, they exercise and display creativity but not innovation as innovation is only displayed when those ideas are put in to practice and something new comes in to a physical existence that can be touched, felt or smelled. He further elaborated that many business organizations and leaders focus greatly on generating novel ideas but do not pay attention to creating new products, processes, and designs that help the organization in achieving its corporate goals and objectives.
How can innovation be fostered in an organization?
Creativity can easily be put in the organizational culture but innovation cannot be forced, but better to be fostered. This can be done by adopting the design thinking approach which is a system that has overlapping spaces and is not a continuous step by step procedure to get through. Design thinking involves identifying the current or inherent problem and then finding solutions to it. These solutions are found by brainstorming and generating new ideas and approaches. Once a series of alternatives are generated the best one is chosen to be implemented. The last step is the implementation of the chosen idea which requires the series of activities and practices to put the thought in action.
The design thinking approach is very useful as it helps the organizations to identify problems even before they are visible and this helps them to track the issues that they might be missing on for a long time. Furthermore, it greatly helps in linking the creativity and innovation as it connects the amazing ideas generated through creativity to the actual customers or market that demands it. The creativity that is used and applied to form new products and processes in an organization is what the leaders want and values the most in the corporate world. It is the responsibility of the leaders in an organization to promote the creative culture and use a design approach to bring innovation in the organization by motivating people to think outside the box and become active and results-oriented.
Risks Associated With the Innovation
Innovation itself is a huge risk and comes up with a big possibility of two things: risk and failure. To be innovative means to take risks and risk always comes up with a possibility of failure. However, failure is something that the organization must not be scared of as it helps you to learn and improve in the future. If the business leaders do not let go of their fear of failure they will never be truly able to foster innovation in the culture, practices, and products of the organization. Many popular organizations used the design thinking approach and succeeded in bringing innovation in the organization. Proctor & Gamble under the influence of CEO Alan Laftley was able to increase its value drastically to a hundred billion by bringing innovation in the organization. The Kaiser Permanente applied design thinking approach and were successfully able to improve the performance of the organization in the form of satisfied patients and improved health and control.
Creativity and innovation are some of the most highly demanded traits in the business world as they help the organization achieve efficiency and effectiveness which ultimately gives immense success in achieving the overall organizational strategic goals and objectives. Creativity and innovation can both be enforced by the business leaders in the organization by using brainstorming and design thinking approach. Although both concepts are different they are still needed equally in the organization as one helps to achieve the other.