Creativity vs. Innovation: Clarifying the Confusion

The words creativity and innovation are used frequently. Think of your favorite brands and you will see creativity and innovation used all over their messaging. Nike’s mission is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” The Walt Disney Company’s mission statement is “to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.” And we’ve seen Nissan’s commercials with the tagline “innovation that excites,” consistent with its mission to provide “unique and innovative automotive products and services.”

Not only are the words creativity and innovation used frequently, but they’re often used interchangeably. It may seem true because of its prevalence, but they mean different things.

I found this quote recently and love it!

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” – Theodore Levitt

This quote shows the difference between creativity and innovation.  Creativity is combining imagination and ingenuity to generate ideas and bring them to reality.  These ideas may be influenced and triggered by other things and combine unrelated ideas.  But in and of themselves, they’re new and the result of using one’s mental ability and curiosity to explore.  The next step is bringing your creative idea to life whether it is through visual art or a brainstorming session. I’m creative for my own self-expression or to generate solutions to a problem.

On the other hand, innovation involves taking action.  It is the development of something new, whether it is a new product, process, method, or service. I help my clients innovate and implement new processes and launch new products that will provide value to their business and customers.

Here are some more ways to visualize creativity versus innovation:

Creativity vs Innovation

A key point to remember is that creativity comes before innovation, and therefore, they’re not one in the same. Innovation is the production, mobilization and implementation of a creative idea.

Creativity vs Innovation 2

“What is often lacking is not creativity in the idea-creating sense but innovation in the action-producing sense, i.e. putting ideas to work.” – Theodore Levitt

Have you been confused by the difference between creativity and innovation?  How have you heard them defined or used? I’d love to know if the explanation above helps or if you have any questions!

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Published by Dasanj Aberdeen

Dasanj Aberdeen is an entrepreneurial spirit who embodies the combination of left-brain logic and right-brain creativity. She is a consultant and proponent of multidisciplinary education, approaches and pursuits. She writes about their benefits in modern times and integrating multiple interests into a sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle. She's a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University with a concentration in Technology & Innovation Management, jointly delivered by the Fox School of Business and College of Engineering.