Creativity, innovation and invention
Nowadays, discussions about creativity, innovation and invention are often made difficult because people are unclear about the exact meanings of some key terms. They are not the same thing. To create for example a successful product or business, a leader needs to recognize the differences, and combine them in the right mix. So what is the real definition and difference between all these three wonderful concepts? Creativity is your ability to imagine new concepts. It does not require value creation.
That is why when we run brainstorming sessions; we do not allow concepts to be screened for merit. We are being divergent and looking for all possible ideas. Artists, musicians and designers possess powerful creative skills. They imagine and reimagine scenes and sounds from the world. They create memorable and provocative pieces. But pure creative types rarely invent anything. Creativity alone doesn’t suffice for original or patentable breakthroughs. . Creativity plays an important role in both invention and innovation, but is only the front end component of each.
Innovation is the process through which value is created and delivered to a community in the form of a new solution. Innovation requires both creativity and invention. But it also requires something more. To innovate, a person or an organization must marshall the resources to introduce an invention into the world. Innovation requires a team. One person does not a company make. When investors look for the next innovative business idea, they look for a core team that can work together to build the product. Innovation requires adequate funding.
Whereas artists and inventors can get by on limited resources, innovators must marshall adequate resources to make their ideas real. Invention is very distinct from innovation. When a new idea surfaces or a new patent is filed, that is an invention. Inventors often possess creative minds. It is constrained by reality. While an artist can imagine paradoxical scenes, an inventor works within a framework of possibility, sometimes defining the framework along the way. Inventors may work alone, or in small teams.
They benefit by studying widely and interacting with people unlike themselves, but they often find the spark of an idea while on their own. The best inventions possess all of the qualities of beauty that artists appreciate: symmetry, harmony, elegance, simplicity, but invention extends beyond human senses and into the realism of pure science At the end, besides all these, it’s easy to confuse creativity, invention and innovation. Each has its place, and each builds on the previous. They have been so thoroughly misused that it is hard to tell the difference between them. Yet they could not be more different.