The Distinction Between Creativity and Innovation

Innovation is the lifeblood of every business today. In fact, Peter Drucker claimed that “business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.” It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in you need to live, breathe and think innovation. In a world of change, innovation is the only way to survive.Innovation has become a big business of its own. Organizations are springing up that claim to offer some new slant on enhancing creativity. Some new technique or technology that will help you be that little bit more creative. But with all this creativity being sold and innovation being bought, there is one big question that begs to be answered.What’s the distinction between creativity and innovation?What makes creativity, creativity and innovation, innovation? In this article, I’m going to try to explain how creativity and innovation differ. And they are different.Both creativity and innovation are predicated on new. New ideas, new thoughts, new value, new technology. But if both of them rely on new then that’s not going to be the main differentiator between them.Both creativity and innovation usually rely on outside influence to create the new. It takes a little spark of an idea in order to get creativity to start on any large scale. And innovation requires outside influence otherwise it becomes simply improvement. So while there is some difference there, it’s only a matter of intensity rather than something substantive.Both creativity and innovation involve action although of different types. Creativity often involves meetings, debate and other actions which fuel and direct the creativity. Innovation also requires action as the ideas are brought to focus and turned into new products with new value formulas.And both versions involve change. But there’s a difference that may be worth considering. Creativity involves undirected change. You never know what you are going to get and where it’s going. Innovation on the other hand, involves vectored change. It involves change with direction and purpose.We’re getting closer, but I still think we’ve got to go a little further.Let’s look at the relationship between the two of them. If we do so then we find that innovation requires a healthy dose of creativity. In fact, my organization defines innovation as the product of creativity and execution.In that definition, we find the true difference between creativity and innovation. Creativity is the effort and conditions involved in creating a new idea. But innovation involves taking that idea and executing it. It involves taking the idea and turning it into reality. Innovation is executed creativity. But more than that, it’s vectored creativity executed and turned into reality.