Most do not think about the difference between what it means to be creative versus being innovative. There is a difference though there can be a lot of overlap.
Creativity can be doing anything that seems to be original. We most often link creativity with artists, musicians and designers of all sorts. Picasso creates a beautiful painting and it is creative because no one has ever done exactly what he has done before. Sebastian Bach composes an incredible symphony or Donna Karan (DKNY) designs a new clothing line and both are creative.
Creativity then, seems to be a matter of preference. Two people may look at the Mona Lisa and one may view it as creative while the other may just see another portrait. The differing opinions about the same artwork rely on what that person believes to be creative.
Creativity and innovation are used as substitutes for each other. Innovation is about doing things a better way and sometimes that takes creativity. It doesn’t always. Companies like Apple, Tesla, Netflix and Amazon probably come to mind when you think about some of the most innovative companies you know. All have become global giants for the approach they took to innovating in their industries. They made them better in some way.
Each company has innovated in ways that either made peoples’ lives more enjoyable, improved environmental performance, made entertainment more available or brought more buyers and sellers together from around the world. Each of their innovations sparked a change. Each change serves to benefit someone in some way. The bigger the change, the more people who benefit and the more ways from which they can benefit, the bigger the innovation.
The Growth Rate of Innovation
When you pay attention long enough, you will start to see trends re-emerge. For example, I was a young University student who witnessed the birth of the Internet. During my first year, email could only be sent to people at the same school and web pages were strictly black & white text. Here we are today performing powerful software processing on a smartphone that fits into most pockets.
This rate of growth sparks the conversation about how fast innovation is growing
To put this in perspective, it took 75 years for the telephone to reach 50 million users while it only took the radio 38 years. The Internet only needed 4 years to reach 50 million users and the world famous Angry Birds reached 50 million in just 35 days.
The innovation behind the growth of these tools can be somewhat explained by Moore’s Law. The basic law suggests that our computing power will double every 18 months. This is especially true when compared to relative size and cost of our new technology. The computing power that now sits in the palm of our hands took entire floors of tape driven data machines to process.
At this rate of innovation growth, the world will be in a very different place in the next 18 months. This rate of change will be very disruptive and most industries will be affected.
Creativity + Innovation
This is a world where creativity and innovation feed on each other. Not every creative idea is innovative nor is every innovation creative. The intersection of the two is where magic happens. Exponential change happens where creativity meets innovation.
Industries like financial services, transportation and energy are just beginning to see major disruption from technologies like blockchain, cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence. The only limit to the technologies we will witness in our lifetime is our own imagination.