Creativity and Innovation

Creative and Innovative. Two overused words in the corporate world, be it brainstorming sessions, corporate meetings, or company mission statements. Interestingly, most people tend to use these words interchangeably, without really understanding the difference or sometimes, even the proper meaning of the words!

Many a times, people with special talent or artistic capabilities such as painting, dancing, singing, and other such things are referred to as creative. While I do not doubt their capabilities and respect them for their special talent, I would like to point out that it’s better to refer them as artistic rather than innovative or creative.

This is because I am not an artist, but I still belong to the creative domain. Confusing, eh?

As a professional whose bread and butter comes from brainstorming, I manage brands. And I do it because I am creative (at least I think I am!) and try to incorporate my ideas towards developing a market research company.

But this post is not about what I do. It is a modest attempt at explaining why it’s relevant for businesses to know the difference between these two most common buzzwords—Creativity and Innovation, across verticals, that everyone is so fond of using.

According to Theodore Levitt, American economist and professor at Harvard Business School, “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

The two words play a key role in brand management. In fact, one is incomplete and redundant without the other.

Businesses have to frequently adapt according to their changing external business environment in order to keep up with the latest developments. I will explain using Nokia as an example. It was one of the most valuable brands, globally, until 2008; when it could not anticipate the sudden market expansion of smartphones and suffered heavily. Even though, it reinvented itself later, by collaborating with Microsoft, it didn’t realize that customers in today’s era expect constant innovation. Brands need to accept that they are not as resilient today as they once used to be. However, its latest product launch will decide if it will float or sink further!

Practically, companies aim to minimize expenses, but they also need to innovate their business models. Encouraging creativity among employees is one of the key cost-effective business solutions. As in the case of Starbucks, which allowed one of its employees to experiment on a cold coffee drink that later became an instant hit. Before this, Starbucks had less sales during summers. The launch of this new drink not only expanded their customer base, but also increased their summer sales.

Another recent example could be that of WhatsApp, when it was trolled on social media for copying Snapchat! It was so unpopular that WhatsApp had to bring back its original status feature. Obviously, copying ideas is a strict no-no.

In my understanding, creativity is the catalyst that fuels innovation for businesses to bridge the gap between ‘what they are’ and ‘what they can become’. And brand management involves both.

Note: The opinions and points of view expressed in this article are exclusively the views of the author.

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