Posted by: Jennifer | October 21, 2012

create versus build

I was just in the forums for my online course and someone posed a question that I actually had to think about: what is the difference between creativity and innovation? There were about 700 answers to the question, so I figured chiming in with my response wouldn’t make too much of a difference in the thread and my post would just get lost in the shuffle. Instead I decided to post my answer here, so that all of you are forced to read it whether you like it or not.

Creativity is the process of coming up with an idea. It can be visual, verbal, or something that you can hold in your hand. Creativity is the art of sitting down on your couch and thinking of something that you want to build or write or see or feel or create, and giving shape to that idea and a colour and a texture and a sound and a voice.

Innovation can’t exist without creativity, but creativity can exist without innovation. Most people have some sort of creative side to them, whether they acknowledge/act up on it or not. Anyone can come up with an idea. Innovation is taking that idea — that speck of possibility that you dreamed up — and turning it into a tangible product. A creative person can think of an idea for a picture or a story or a new recipe  An innovative person actually creates the painting, book or dish.

Now that I’ve written all this out, I wonder if the question in the forum should have been reworded. It’s not about the difference between creativity and innovation. It’s about whether YOU want to be creative or innovative. Do you want to sit on the couch and think of the idea, or do you want to make it come to life?


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