Creativity is for me, and innovation is for you, and business needs both

Creativity is like pulling your innards out and inspecting them with a microscope. Innovation is like trying to determine if your innards would make a tasty entree and then asking others to have a bite just to see if they think so or not. Then maybe adding some salt and trying again.

As William Coyne, senior vice president for R&D at 3M once put it: "Creativity is thinking of new and appropriate ideas whereas innovation is the successful implementation of those ideas within an organization. In other words creativity is the concept and innovation is the process.” Published in Fast Company.

What binds creativity and innovation is that they both originate from curiosity. You can’t have creativity without curiosity. Curious people ask themselves; “what might happen if…?” And then take action to find out. Creative people apply their curiosity to a creation for themselves. 

Omar Hassan, from What is corporate innovation and why does it matter? says that "the case is that valuable innovation in both startups and big businesses will deliver cost-saving or money-making benefits, regardless of whether this was their initial intention. For example, a new way of rewarding staff might not seem to hold any direct financial benefit, but given time, common sense would say that it may increase profits and therefore prove to be a valuable innovation."

Try using innovation methodologies to spark creativity in your business. Instead of a “brainstorming meeting,” trying to come up with solutions to a business problem, turn it on it’s head. Take time to really question the problem before focusing on the solution. That shifts the meeting to curiosity. Why do we want to solve this? Who would benefit? In what ways might they benefit? Why would this benefit help them? Is helping them what we want to do?  

Tina Schweiger