Creativity and Innovation are both vital areas for the success of any business. These two golden words are often tossed around during brainstorming sessions, demonstrating a strong relation between them; however, they are ultimately different. Innovation cannot exist without creativity, but creativity alone cannot drive change and growth. When you are able to utilize carefully crafted exercises, such as design sprint methodology, you can train to enhance your creativity in order to innovate and achieve your corporate innovation goals.


“Wow, I didn’t think I was creative enough to come up with this!”


We run a lot of hackathons and design sprints with employees from large corporations – and we always hear this sentiment at the end. It’s time to clear up the difference between creativity and innovation.


Creativity vs. Innovation


The key difference between the two is the main point of focus. Creativity is a subjective concept describing an individual’s ability to push the boundaries of their mind to conceive new, original ideas. Although it is incredibly important to today’s business world, it is an imaginative process that is only one building block towards actually implementing these new concepts.

Innovation is a measurable change that is introduced towards improving an existing systems. It identifies a previously unrecognized and unmet need, creating an opportunity to apply creative resources in order to design an appropriate solution that holds realized value to others. By running ideas through an innovation process, you are creating an actionable blueprint that identifies and executes the right solution for your company and its customers.

Since creativity and innovation are often confused, many organizations have difficulty in realizing the potential of their ideas and generating proof of concepts. More often than not, leaders can fall into the trap of asking employees to generate creativity on demand instead of building innovation at scale. When organizations are able to distinguish between the two notions, they can then disrupt their industry by challenging the status quo with new products, enhanced services, and refocused company missions.


Innovation is just a sexy word until you have the actions to back it up. Organizations serious about fostering innovation culture need to take risks and have the grit to overcome failures. With the right methods and processes, there are manageable, measurable, and paths towards corporate innovation. Check out our Library for a collection of free resources to help you get started.


Fostering a Culture of Innovation


We all know what a Frappuccino is – one of Starbucks’ most popular drinks is an example of what can be possible when leaders give their employees room to deviate, explore ideas, and experiment.

In 1993, when a latte was exotic enough for the New York Times to teach you how to pronounce it, the first Starbucks opened in New York City. At the time, a few store managers had recognized the market opportunity for blended coffee beverages after some smaller coffee shops had begun adopting this concept. After headquarters gave them the green light to pursue this idea, many stores began experimenting, testing, and receiving feedback from customers.

There was another player called Coffee Connection. Their founder, George Howell, had introduced a drink he had been dreaming about for two years – the Frappuccino. Inspired by a cappuccino granita, anItalian frozen dessert, and a frappe milkshake. After Starbucks acquiredCoffee Connection, they applied this unique name to their new blended beverage and this marked the birth of an icon.

By encouraging the pursue of potential opportunities, you are able to begin fostering a culture of innovation amongst your employees and begin rocking the boats in your industry. The best part? Innovation can be found even in the smallest of changes to an existing product or process – when the Frappuccino was born, their domed lids and whipped cream were considered to be absolutely ground-breaking. Today, our electrical vehicles can be built on“skateboard” platforms and so models are experimenting with trunks in the front, extra hidden spaces, and swappable frames.


Final Thoughts


“Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” - Thomas Edison

If you take the time to reflect on the amount of time your organization dedicates towards inspiration versus taking action, it can put things into perspective regarding how many barriers your organization is facing.With the right methods, and even the proper guidance, you can begin realizing all the hidden potential your organization holds. The key is to enrich your company culture and processes to capture your employee’s ideas as they happen.

In summary, both creativity and innovation are needed for businesses to keep up and remain profitable in our fast-moving, information-hungry society. Creativity is coming up with new goals to reach – it’s like introducing the idea of a car, but innovation is the process of designing it, building an engine and fuelling it with gas so you can see how far you can go.

Interested in seeing how we can support you and your business in your innovation initiatives? Book an introductory call with Victor Li, Founder & CEO of Onova.
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