Before diving into the relationship between creativity and innovation, it’s better to understand each on its own. By the very definition of the word creative, one can immediately see that an idea has begun. But it doesn’t begin to form any relation to being innovative until the action of being creative is presented. Here is how the process works in very simple steps.
Creativity and innovation start with a good idea
Some people dare to dream of thoughts that go beyond what is possible or what hasn’t been achieved before. When these thoughts are shared with others, it’s normal that they encounter their opposites. For example: ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if people could breathe seawater?’ We all know this isn’t possible, therefore the idea is considered far-fetched and is something that daydreamers tend to think about.
If we take this thought by itself and develop reasoning to back up the idea, it becomes creativity. This includes presenting the means to make this thought into a reality. It can be achieved through conventional and often non-related or unorthodox means to prove the idea is possible. Yet with all of the information that’s given explaining why an idea can be proven, the assumption that most people will react from is disbelief. This is where innovative thinking comes around to provide a solution that shows everyone the idea works.
Developing an idea one step at a time
Let’s take a closer look at innovative thinking for a moment. Not only do new ideas take on a different perspective after being proposed, but brand new steps are also then laid out. The technical process behind the idea is developed and is original to how something has or hasn’t been done before. Because of the steps used through innovation, these theories are tested and refined until concrete proof of an idea solidifies. This is what proof of concept’ means and is the basis of what modern innovation means to us.
Now the larger question is provided as to how creativity and innovation are related? As you might have guessed, both are using an idea that’s used for backing a call of action. Both are considered idealistic in the theory behind the idea, but only one of them can produce a solid outcome. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t both closely related to each other. Since the opinions and steps to prove the idea are provided, the element of originality mirrors these two words.
Will the real innovator please stand up?
This is an overused word that’s spoken more often than you admit to hearing. The fact is the idea behind something being original is blown completely out of proportion! Seeing or hearing about a new idea process is rare and most of the so-called original ideas are repurposed gimmicks. We confuse these ideas that are provided as products or solutions, often assuming creativity and innovation led to their creation. Yet it’s easy to spot the real McCoy if another set of words is used to describe the person behind the idea.
The 4 stages of innovation
If you’ve heard words like trailblazer and pioneer, they may sound like they have the same meaning. So why does this relate to our subject? This is easier to describe within the four stages of innovation. The actual names of people that can be placed behind these definitions will help you to understand how creativity is being used.
King C. Gillette modernized the industry with the invention of the first safety razor in 1901. He received a patent by 1904, and after that, the Gillette razor has been a household name ever since. The company considers incremental innovation by adding more razors to a shaving handle. The question that many have wondered is why more than one or two razors are needed to shave better?
Mark Zuckerberg had a great idea to create an online method for his fellow friends at Harvard to stay in touch back in 2004. The idea bloomed and now several billion people use his social media platform, as well as its rivals. Needless to say, other disruptive innovators such as Google, IBM, Apple, HBO, McDonald’s, Netflix, Amazon, and all of Mark’s Harvard friends can share the information collected about you.
Walt Disney started with a great idea back in 1928 to create a new character called Mickey Mouse. It grew into an empire brand that’s now global. After he died in 1966, the company has forever been changing its internal company structure. While it remains fundamental in many respects to Walt’s ideas over time, the mechanisms and processes of how their products are created have grown smaller and faster.
Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. happened to unveil the very first iPhone in 2007 that changed the world. Yet Apple wasn’t the first to invent touchscreen technology, the lithium-ion battery, or access to the World Wide Web. However, this handheld device offered all of that in the palm of your hand. Now there isn’t a single young teen on the planet that can read a standard street map without looking at an app on their phone first.
These are all fine examples of Trailblazers who in their way repackaged innovation through creativity. They are all successful brands that the world cannot live without, with or without being necessary. However, when it comes to true innovators who dreamed of the impossible; what names come to mind? That may be a task that’s worth asking about who was the mastermind that invented the wheel?
We take for granted that items such as the printing press or semiconductors all started in a garage somewhere. The ability to harness electricity and use optical lenses changed our ability to see. Or that Penicillin and other life-saving medicines were invented to allow us to live without disease and sicknesses. These unsung heroes are lesser-known innovators who also used their creativity to advance our existence.
Can you think about other relations between creativity and innovation? Make sure to share them in the comments!