Difference between Innovation and Creativity

The subjects of my recent posts are “creativity” and “innovation“. But what does do creativity and innovation actually mean?Discussing both terms with my colleagues, we couldn’t not notice that we sort of arrived at the same definitions. We did recognise that there was definitely a difference, but somehow couldn’t point out what it was. I decided to consult the Internet 🙂



  • A new method, idea, product (Google)
  • The central meaning of innovation thus relates to renewal or improvement, with novelty being a consequence of this improvement. (Wikipedia)
  • Something newly introduced, such as a new method or device (dictionary.reference.com)
  • The action or process of bringing something into existence (Google)
  • Refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art etc.) that has some kind of value (Wikipedia)
  • The act of producing or causing to exist (dictionary.reference.com)
Reading definition of both those terms it is rather clear that the difference is very subtle. However:
  • Every Innovation is a Creation of something new. Innovation is a Creative process.
  • Not every Creation leads to Innovation. Creating new processes/devices/art doesn’t mean that something was renewed or improved.

Organisation change in disguise


There is a lot of tweets in the Twitterverse about changing organisations, people, processes. Not too long ago I was a consultant with “change everything” mind set. I was also surrounded by like minded people. We tried together in our crusade against bad, bad things in software development industry. I don’t feel we have achieved substantial success.

After many attempts I realised the biggest problem that we have never tackled properly. PEOPLE ARE AFRAID OF CHANGES. This rather simple psychological thing has no technical or economical background.

However, there is something I observed during my attempts at the place I work.


On the other hand I observed that adopting different approach in the place I work at the moment produces better results.

I started as usual with the same consulting spiel of “we need to change“. Even with the people who saw problems it was hard to convince them to change. I got a little bit demotivated at work.


Coming back from holidays gave me new energy and new will to tackle problems. This time however I change the spiel from “we need to change” into “how about I improve this thing by doing that“. I found that in most cases there was very little resistance for improvement. Very often I tried to hide the change behind the innovation.

So, my little advise is: don’t change where/what you can’t. Disguise the change behind innovation and improvement. The change will happen by itself, the difference is: people won’t be scared of it. It also goes much better with management as they fear big bang changes the most.


Innovation at Google

Light bulbLast week at CQon London 2011, one of the day’s opening session was Patrick Copeland from Google, talking about the way they innovate. Thoughts that speaker was trying to get across:

  • Idea is only 1% of the successful innovation, 99% is constant repetition of try and fail cycle. Thomas Edison as an example of the cycle that lead to invention of a light bulb.
  • Every idea can be a winner or a loser. Twitter was never suppose to catch up and Windows CE was suppose to be the greatest mobile platform.
  • Surround yourself with innovators, not thinkers. Look for track record of innovation in portfolio/cv.  Innovators beat ideas.
  • Build fast, build the THING, and don’t worry about the RIGHT way of building it. Just get it out. Iterate fast. Dare to fail.
  • Create Pretotypes. Google’s Android application design kit contains a paper clip and a pencil. Draw your idea, application on a piece of paper. Put it into pocket and try to use it like a real thing.
  • More time you spend on the idea without releasing it, the more in love you’ll be with it. Therefore less likely to dump it.
  • Data is apolitical and factual. Use data not opinion to decide upon idea, if it’s worth doing, if the prototype/prototype/beta is getting more popular, etc.

Are you feeling like innovating something now? Go and do it 🙂