Innovation vs Creativity








It has always been frustrating how these two words have been ill-defined and interchanged in the workplace. The confusion over their definitions has added to the cynicism with which they are greeted in organisations and acts as a barrier to their beneficial application.

While differing contexts and needs determine variations in definition, complicated definitions are ultimately unhelpful and only serve to confuse people. Simple definitions with clarity and are most likely to elicit action.

Therefore, I’d like to distill multiple definitions into simple terms.

“Creativity is bringing something new into being.” (This can include something that is old but brought into a new context or time).

“Innovation is applying that creation to produce demonstrable value.”

It is only through application and often value adding can creative output become an innovation.

Not all creative output will add value. Creativity is no guarantee of innovation. Organisations needs “idea-creativity” because the development of new ideas and concepts that are developed for “a purpose” have objective value.

Depending on the industry it’s important to differentiate between “Artistic Creativity” and “Idea Creativity”. Without downplaying the importance of artistic creativity I’d like to focus on “Idea Creativity” i.e. New ideas/actions that when applied add measurable value to the business. “Artistic Creativity” can be far more subjective in value and is not the focus of this post.

Argument over the definitions of Creativity & Innovation can be counterproductive for two reasons:

1) It wastes time and stops people from moving to action in the form of the experimenting, testing and proto-typing required to uncover new value, and 2) the very nature of creation indicates whatever is produced is new, so how therefore can it be appropriately defined and categorised with foresight?

Many people argue endlessly about the definitions and when this happens more mental energy goes into this, than into the generation of value adding ideas. Debate on an exact definition can be unhelpful and only serves to delay movement to action!.

Create and Innovate are both verbs and if you’re still talking about them, you’re not doing them …

Those wishing to learn how to think laterally to be more creative and to then drive innovation in their oranisation can join us at any of our Melbourne, Sydney & Canberra workshops over the coming months.

Full course details and Registration information are in the links below.

Melbourne, Six Thinking Hats Training – Aug 31
Sydney, Six Thinking Hats Training – Sept 5
Sydney, Six Thinking Hats Certifications for New Trainers – Sept 5, 6 & 7
Canberra, Six Thinking Hats Training – Oct 17
Canberra, Six Thinking Hats Certification for New Trainers – Oct 17, 18 & 19

Please direct any enquiries to Frank at Think Quick on 0400 109727 or

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About the Author

Frank Connolly is the Principal of “Think Quick”, a business that adds value through thinking differently. His work history covers all sectors and includes initiatives that have yielded bottom line benefit in the 10’s of millions of dollars.

Frank has worked across Australia, South East Asia, China, the Middle East and Africa where he has trained and facilitated multiple thinking methods and been acknowledged by Edward de Bono as one of the foremost practitioners of the de Bono thinking methods worldwide.

Frank believes strongly that if we can improve the way we think, the actions that follow also improve.


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