Innovation and creativity in the industry


Drucker (1985) argued that innovation is the tool of entrepreneurship. In addition, both innovation and entrepreneurship demand creativity. Creativity is a process by which a symbolic domain in the culture is changed. New songs, new ideas, new machines are what creativity is about Mihaly (1997). Creativity is the ability to make or otherwise bring into existences something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. Wyckoff (1991) defines creativity as new and useful. Creativity is the act of seeing things that everyone around us sees while making connections that no one else has made. Creativity is moving from the known to the unknown. Culture exerts a negative force on creativity according to Pearce (1974), however, "were it not for creativity, culture itself would not be created."

A closer look at the Latin origins of the two words from Webster's Dictionary would help to throw some more lights on the differences. Creative comes from the Latin creâre (to cause to exist) the ability to make something exist. On the other hand Innovate comes from the Latin word innovare (to renew, alter) from Novus 'new'.

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Both words have to do with novelty. However, with respect to principle of causality, creative is more radical in the sense that its primary focus is the fact of bringing into existence what did not exist before(JANE HENRY, 2006). The less the material cause, the more perfect it is as a creative act. Hence, creative act per excellence is that which brings something new into existence out of nothing (i.e. zero material cause) which we normally attribute to God only. Conceptually, creative tends to be blind towards other existence but focuses on the substance and accidents (qualities, etc) of the new "being". Creativity in man has to do with his ability to bring into existence new ideas from within his spiritual (immaterial) self. The less the reference to other realities as material causes, the more perfect it is as creativity. It's good to note at this point that, less reference to other things in existence does not mean that the latter cannot be source of inspiration for the new idea. Inspiration however does not imply share copying as new ideas are just that, new.

Innovation tends to have a reference to what already exists (way of doing things, what is done, etc). Often times, products of creative acts find their true 'meaning' in the context of association or interaction with other realities (created man finds it's meaning in relation to God. Eve finds her meaning in relation to Adam and vice-versa). In the context of an organization, one can argue that it is more appropriate to talk of innovation as a corporate goal rather than creativity in the sense that, every new idea (creative) generated must find its 'meaning' in the context of the organization. Thanks to the new idea, the organization through an act of innovation can 'alter' the way it does something's, 'modify' some products, 'add' some new products to the catalogue (analogously, the addition of Eve to the human society is an innovation in the human society, while the fact of existence of Eve is a creative act), etc.

There are widely differing opinions about creativity and innovation. Many think that creativity is the original starting point. Some think that creativity is what you do after you innovate. Others think they are the same thing and use the words interchangeably. The more thoughtful say they are different in important ways. I would like to offer my own opinion as to these differences and why I believe we need both creativity and innovation.

It is important to distinguish between creativity and innovation because the processes are different, the risks are different, the starting points are different, and the climates needed for achievement are different, and there are consequences of these differences. Why it is that American business is very much more comfortable with innovation than with creativity? It's because innovation is a lot safer, it is incremental, it is building on an already established product or process, and it is far easier to achieve success than starting from scratch. Conceiving and making the first post-it-notes was the result of a creative process. Making them of different sizes, shapes, and colours was an innovation based on that original creative idea.

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'I strongly believe that creativity requires a different executive mindset than innovation, particularly in business applications. For some, even the word creativity rubs the culture the wrong way' (. It is considered too soft and "flaky." Creativity, after all, requires a tolerance of mistakes. Creativity requires an acceptance of risk. Creativity requires a commitment of time and resources. Creativity requires the acceptance of possible failure. Creativity must be thought of as an investment. You don't start it and stop it. The organization must have a long term commitment to being creative. Taken together, these requirements affect the management culture of the organization that aspires to be creative.

Innovation, on the other hand, requires a much lower level of risk and since success is incremental, it can be terminated at any desired level. Since the risks are lower, the levels of approval are lower. There is less of a need for long term commitment of resources and money and a less sophisticated management culture. In some organizations, innovative ideas are approved by the Suggestion Plan Committee.

Innovation, on the other hand, requires a much lower level of risk and since success is incremental, it can be terminated at any desired level. Since the risks are lower, the levels of approval are lower. There is less of a need for long term commitment of resources and money and a less sophisticated management culture. In some organizations, innovative ideas are approved by the Suggestion Plan Committee.

Whereas innovation is often a random event, creativity is much more of a formal, ongoing and complex process. Since the starting point of innovation is the modification of an existing product or process, it is much easier to make meaningful progress towards improvement compared with starting from zero and not knowing the outcome. Think of the automobile industry, it thrives on continuous innovation. Completely new models are rare - and expensive to create. For example, the Ford Model T, Chrysler Air Flow, Edsel, Mustang, Corvette, VW "Bug", DeLorean, and, etc., include the latest version of an all electric car from General Motors. So most of what we buy are innovated improvements on last year's model - if they have

survived in the first place, and many don't. Creativity is a risky process.

However, because creativity is a process, it can be taught and learned. There are numerous seminars, workshops and degree granting university courses in creativity and creative problem solving. I know of only one in the field of innovation.

Because creativity can be taught and learned, it is possible for companies to train individuals, teams, and whole organizations to become more creatively effective in their work.

In contrast, innovation is much more informal. There is no specific body of knowledge that could serve as a basis of teaching and learning. Many, if not most, innovative techniques are derived primarily from what we know about creativity.

So what? Is this just another academic exercise or are these differences important to understand? I believe that understanding the differences between creativity and innovation can lead to the optimizing of both - and we need both. To grow and prosper, most organizations and businesses need to constantly improve their existing products and services through continuously innovating needed change; and, for survival of the enterprise, most also need to create new products and services to meet yet unfulfilled needs.

As the global playing field becomes increasingly level, many business forecasters are predicting that workforce creativity and innovation will be the most important factors in establishing and maintaining a competitive advantage. Logic, linear thinking and rule-based analysis--functions located in the left side of the human brain--will remain important, but are no longer sufficient to succeed in the global economy. Many experts, such as author Daniel Pink (a keynote speaker at the Society for Human Resource Management's 2007 Annual Conference and Exposition), believe that, to succeed, organizations must place greater emphasis on right-brain functions: artistic, big-picture thinking and the ability to put things in context.

With creativity and innovation considered such critical factors in organizational success, HR professionals must develop strategies to enhance the creative environment of the workplace. HR professionals will need to take into account a number of factors, including the best ways to identify creative tendencies, team vs. individual creativity, employee motivation and training.

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Management practices that support creative and innovative thinking will undoubtedly be more challenging than managing task-oriented, routine jobs. However, they may ultimately prove to be more rewarding for HR professionals because they produce an environment where creativity thrives and leads to greater employee engagement, motivation and productivity. Not incidentally, they also highlight the importance of effective human capital management.

Creativity has traditionally been viewed as the gift of a small number of talented people. The concept that groups and organizations can function creatively reflects the growing importance of creativity as a driver of innovation and organizational success. HR has a critical role in establishing an environment that communicates organizational values and creates management practices that respect and support the unique skills and creative potential of every individual. To fulfil this role, HR professionals will have to call upon their own creative and innovative abilities.

No entrepreneur or enterprise, however successful and big, can continue to hold a place of leadership unless it recognizes that modern business operates in a world of galloping change which creates new problems, risk and opportunities and for which they have to mobilize the enterprise's resources before changes make their impact felt. To do successfully, the entrepreneur and enterprise should know where this firm is going and how the firm will get there. This is turn requires a clear definition of the company's business which will enable it to continually adopt operations to the realities of the market place, 'the very corner stone of survival and growth"

Innovation is defined as adding something new to an existing product or process. The key words are adding and existing. The product or process has already been created from scratch and has worked reasonably well. When it is changed so that it works better or fulfils a different need, then there is innovation on what already exists. Innovation is the successful exploitation of new ideas.

All innovation begins with creative ideas. Creativity is the starting point for innovation. Creativity is however necessary but not sufficient condition for innovation. Innovation is the implantation of creative inspiration.


Creativity is marked by the ability to create, bring into existence, to invent into a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make to bring into existence something new. Creativity is not ability to create out of nothing (only God can do that), but the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing, or reapplying existing ideas. Some creative ideas are astonishing and brilliant, while others are just simple, good practical ideas that no one seems to have thought, of yet. (Harris, 1998).

Everyone has substantial creative ability including you the reader. So you should count yourself and believe it that you are a creative genius. All you need is to be reawakened and be highly committed to creativity. I want you to start thinking now, in the process something new will flow. Explore that something new today and you will be a different personality tomorrow.

Creativity is also an attitude, the ability to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it, we are socialized into accepting only a small number of permissible or normal things, like chocolate-covered strawberries, for example. The creative person realizes that there are other possibilities like peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or chocolate-covered prunes. Harris (1998).

Creativity is also a process. Creative person work hard and continually to improve ideas and solutions, by making gradual alterations and refinements to their works. Contrary to the mythology surrounding creativity, very few of creative excellence are produced with a single stroke of brilliance or in a frenzy of rapid activity. Much closer to the real truth are the stories of companies which had to take the invention away from the inventor in order to market it because the inventor would have kept on tweaking it and fiddling with it,, always trying to make it a little better, (Harris, 1998).

A product is creative when it is "novel" and "appropriate". A novel product is original, not predicable. The bigger the concept, and the more the product stimulates further work ideals, the more the product is creative (Stermbering and Lubart). Creativity requires passion and commitment. Out of the creative is born symbols and myths. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness-ecstasy"-Rollow May.


Creative thinking has various definitions. Okpara (2000). However, it is the art of generating solution to problems by the force of imagination and reasoning. It is an activity of the mind seeking to find answer to some of life's questions. In a dynamic and changing world, the challenges of man are also not static. They take on new forms and require a deep creative thinking approach.


Innovation is the process of bringing the best ideas into reality, which triggers a creative idea, which generates a series of innovative events. Innovation is the creation of new value. Innovation is the process that transforms new ideas into new value-turning an idea into value. You cannot innovate without creativity. Innovation is the process that combines ideas and knowledge into new value. Without innovation an enterprise and what it provides quickly become obsolete.

Innovation is fostered by information gathered from new connections; from insights gained by journeys into other disciplines or places; from active, collegial networks and fluid open boundaries. Innovation arises from organizing circles of exchange, where information is not just accumulated or stored, but created. Knowledge is generated a new from connections that were not there before. Wheatley (1994).

Joseph Schumpeter (1934) believes that the concept of innovation, described as the use of an invention to create a new commercial product or service, is the key force in creating new demand and thus new wealth. Innovation creates new demand and entrepreneurs bring the innovations to the market. This destroys the existing markets and creates new ones, which will in turn be destroyed by even newer products or services. Schumpeter calls this process "creative destructions."


In summary, one can conclude that following the chain of causality, creativity gives rise to innovation. Innovative organizations are those that know how to make good use of creative minds to achieve its organizational goals in a more efficient and effective way. Creative minds alone will not take the organization anywhere.