Creativity vs Innovation – the ugly truth

The biggest challenge when looking at creativity and innovation is understanding the difference between the two. It is such a misunderstood area that even business leaders have trouble distinguishing between the two.

One of the rising stars of Indian business, Nandan Nilekani, president, CEO, and managing director of Infosys Technologies, recently spoke about the need for Innovation at the WEP in Davos.

He spoke about two two things to create an innovative culture:

Innovation requires diversity. You need to bring together different kinds of people to get new ideas.
Innovation requires borderless thinking.

I understand what he means, but he is not talking about innovation, he is talking about creativity. There are many definitions of innovation – here are two:

“the successful exploitation of new ideas” (Department of Trade and Industry, UK).
“change that creates a new dimension of performance” Peter Drucker (Hesselbein, 2002)

According to Wikipedia there are over 60 definitions of creativity – no wonder we’re confused.

So, here are my two definitions:

Creativity = the pure generation of new ideas.
Innovation = the implementation of any idea.

Innovation does not start until the creativity process ends. You can see this in the following model:

If you have a different definition then please add a comment below –
debate is good for the soul!

This entry was posted in Creativity, New Thinking.

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