I had a conversation with a colleague a couple of years ago and he said creativity doesn’t sell. In another  conversation more recently with my brother (an HR VP for a large company), it is clear that innovation does. So what the heck is the difference? To me, they are both about thinking differently and coming up with new approaches and solutions. Whether it’s in a work of art or a business plan, it didn’t seem to matter – in my mind the process is the same. Why do these two terms get such different responses? I’ve been letting this question simmer for awhile and just came across a book that offers the beginning of an answer. The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson.

I’ve just started to read it and I’m excited about what I’m reading so far, so you may be hearing more about it, but for now –  Fran Johansson offers this definition (paraphrased) which I find helpful.

To be considered creative an idea must be new AND it must be valuable (relevant). To be considered innovative – it must be realized – it has to be ‘sold’ to others in the world.

It’s a distinction that seems to fit in both worlds – that of the creative artist and that of business. A lot of new ideas get realized – I’m wondering if the pivotal part of the definition is that it must also be valuable/relevant. I think I’m going to sit with it awhile.

What do you think about creativity vs innovation?