At the beginning of the second half of the 19th century, on the brinks of the Austrian Empire, a Serbian family welcomed a new baby and named him Nikola. The history remembers this baby as one of the greatest inventors, the father of the 20th century, Nikola Tesla. This Serbian engineer is the best example of how creativity and innovation work together to the benefit of an individual, a company, a nation, and the humankind. Tesla was the connection between creative thinking and an innovative approach, a topic we’re about to discuss more deeply in the following text.
The difference between creativity and innovation
To better understand how these two terms are related, we must first set them apart and learn what each of them actually refers to.
By definition, creativity is the ability to use imagination or original ideas in order to create something. People often connect creativity to writers, musicians, sculptors, or painters, etc.; people who can create new pieces of art. However, the truth is the creativity is the power which all humans carry within themselves. Every time we manage to find a connection between seemingly unrelated things and use that connection in order to develop something new that is creativity.
Innovation, on the other hand, is a process of applying better solutions that meet new requirements or existing market needs that nobody yet managed to see through. Simply put, when a market is moving slow and needs a little push, it’s innovations that give that market a push forward. Per example, when a hand plow was not enough to meet the needs of farmers, the tractor came along to scale the farming industry.
Looking at both definitions, it’s easy to understand why people often confuse creativity for innovation and vice versa. It’s even easier to understand this misguided equalization from the point of business process development.
What brings creativity and innovation together?
Getting back to our story from the beginning of the text, we could consider Nikola Tesla as a highly creative person for being able to use his knowledge and imagination in order to create induction motor and many other technical appliances. However, once his creation was put to use, and found its purpose in the industry is the moment when creation became innovation. Hence, we can agree that creativity is the first step towards innovation, while the innovation could be considered the practical use of creativity. It is for that same reason, why companies nourish creativity as an essential aspect of their innovation process, which is of paramount importance for the growth of any business entity.
Another great example of the link between creativity and innovation is Steve Jobs. The founder of Apple was able to use his creativity in order to put together already invented products such as mp3 players, cameras, and mobile phones in order to create the iPhone. No matter the fact that all these products already existed and were marketed for some time, the iPhone was a completely new concept. The same new concept was later marketed as an innovation in the tech industry for its added value.
Although different in their origin, creativity, and innovation are the driving force behind the success of any business. They have the power to change the face of an entire industry, create new markets, and completely shut down existing companies and products. Companies that nurture creative thinking and have the right people that can push forward creative ideas and turn them into innovations, not only as products but also as business management and production process practices, have the potential to scale their revenue and change the world.
Joe McLean is a creative writer, specialized in assignment writing but also engaged as a contributor with many business and tech-related publishers. Joe crafts argumentative articles based on trusted resources and personal experience.