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Creativity vs Innovation

What is the difference between creativity and innovation? Two innovation experts give their thoughts in this two-minute video. I somewhat disagree with their definitions. They infer that innovation better than creativity.

Andrew Papageorge, co-founder of GAPzip, says in the video:

There’s a very important distinction between creativity and innovation. Creativity, we define as the generation of new and useful ideas.

On the other hand, innovation is about taking an idea, implementing an idea, and producing value from that idea. So the emphasis on innovation is value creation. Building of wealth, achieving of something that didn’t exist before.

The emphasis with creativity is on generating ideas. You and I can sit in this room all day long and be very creative, and not produce anything.

The distinction is very important, because it takes a lot more than creativity for something to be innovated.

Craig Marshall, co-founder of GAPzip, shares these words in the video:

And that is what is so challenging, because an idea resides in your head. You can think, you can be creative, and draw and so forth, and keep it in house. But when you put it out to the general public, into those five elements of technologies and relationships, all those environmental things, like finances, and structures, and everything. There’s gonna be a response to it. And is it going to see the light of day? Will it hold up? Will it meet people’s needs?

It’s very challenging unless we think it through in advance. And that’s how we help people on the front end with getting that clarity up front. And then committing to going through the process to make it real. And interfacing it, so it’s accepted and valued by people. And that’s all a big challenge.

Sounds good, right? The concepts here sound good. You can have lots of ideas, but if you don’t implement them, the ideas don’t have value. By implementing an idea, you create value. This video states that creativity is just about generating ideas.

They get the meaning of creativity and innovation messed up. Creativity is much more than just generating ideas. Creativity is about bringing those ideas into reality. Creativity is about creating. Creativity is about making. Their definition of creativity is simply not true.

Their definition of innovation is a bit off too. Innovation is not merely bringing an idea into the real world. They miss the innovation’s one true part: disrupting existing models in the world.

To be fair to these two guys, you can only pack so much into a two-and-a-half minute video. How can you explain the depths of innovation and creativity in such a short time?

The problem with their explanation of dismissing creativity is an underlying conflict between the business world and the arts and culture world. Creativity often gets associated with the arts and culture. The business world doesn’t like creativity, because “it’s something for those wacky artists.” Or as Craig Marshall says, “you can be creative, and draw and so forth, and keep it in house.” Implying that artists stay at home and draw all day and never put their creations into the market economy to be tested.

Whereas, innovation, oh INNOVATION! How the business world loves innovation. Innovation is connected with business. Craig Marshall implies that innovation (aka business) is THE field that connects with the elements of technologies, relationships, and finances. (Funny how he says there five elements, but only lists three). He implies that creativity is child’s play. Drawing, kept in-house.

This video pushes aside the importance of the arts by limiting creativity to being something that is just done internally. Which is incredibly wrong. Creativity and the arts is about bringing your work forth into the real world. Art about sharing the creative work you have made. Poet activist, Estella Conwill Majozo, explains how artists work, “The artist tends the private garden of the soul and gives evidence of this process publicly through the art that, in turn, inspires others to tend their own gardens.”

Strip away Papageorge and Marshall’s incorrect definitions of creativity and innovation, and we still have a lesson to be learned here. Ideas are only so good as that they are made and brought forth to others. That happens with BOTH creativity AND innovation.

Do you agree or disagree, is innovation better than creativity? Leave your thoughts in the comments or respond to this tweet.

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