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Creativity vs Innovation: What Are the Differences? 

Creativity vs Innovation: What Are the Differences?

Oftentimes, we see a conflation of the words creativity and innovation. Yet, innovation is often touted as a word that you should use on your resume, while creativity doesn’t make the cut. Does that mean that there is a difference, after all?

The truth is that while creativity and innovation do have quite a few overlapping elements, there are some key differences. At the end of the day, there’s a reason why innovation is tied to the workplace in ways that creativity is not.

So, what is the difference between creativity vs innovation? Is one better than the other? Why does innovation receive attention from the corporate world in ways that creativity doesn’t?

We’re here to shed light on what these two words really mean, when they come in handy, and why creativity is just as important as innovation.

What Is Creativity?

Think about what it means to create something. This could be a new image on a canvas or a new dish baking in the oven. It could be a new poem on the page or a song played for the first time.

Creativity is about tapping into the mind’s ability to wonder and seek answers. Some people are considered creative because they engage in or excel at creative activities on a regular basis. Everyone from the chef at your favorite restaurant to the creator of your favorite show is a creative type.

However, all of us have the power to be creative. Take a look at these helpful tips to unlock your creative side.

What Is Innovation?

As we mentioned earlier, innovation is a buzzword in the professional world. Why is this the case? What does innovation refer to?

When we talk about innovation, we’re talking about solving a problem in a new way. An employee working in IT may be considered innovative if they develop software that runs faster and smoother than previous software. A student in a lab is called innovative when they find a new way to conduct an experiment that gets better results.

Once again, we all have the power to innovate. However, we’re not all in positions where innovation is necessary or sought after. 

Creativity vs Innovation: What They Have in Common

You might be thinking that these two concepts still sound, well, the same. We don’t blame you. Before we dive into the differences, let’s talk about where creativity and innovation overlap.


Both begin with a moment of inspiration. You identify the question you want to ask or the problem you want to solve and it motivates you to get the ball rolling. Without inspiration, creative or innovative tendencies don’t have much to latch onto.


Once inspiration strikes, brainstorming begins. What is so intriguing about the idea, question, or problem you’ve identified and that has inspired you? What skills, perspectives, or ideas can you bring to the table that might turn that inspiration into something tangible?


Application, in some ways, is the final step of both creativity and innovation. This is where that inspiration and thought come to life, and without application, the previous steps were more of a thought exercise than an action. 

It’s worth noting that this process is not always as linear as it may seem. For example, you may start with application and find inspiration halfway through, shedding light on what to do next. You may go back and forth between application and thought as you work things out.

Creativity vs Innovation: Where They Deviate

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. We can all see now why these two concepts get conflated, as they have so much in common. What makes creativity and innovation different? 

Subjectivity vs Measurability

Creativity is subjective, meaning that it’s hard to place value on the success of a creative endeavor. That is because so many creative projects do involve our personal taste. For example, not everyone enjoys the same novels, the same bands, or the same songs.

Innovation is designed to be measurable. If a company launches a new innovative design, they measure its success both in its ability to function and in sales. It is easier to determine whether or not innovation has been successful because there are objective ways to measure it.

Areas of Use

Creativity is used in our everyday lives. Children express creativity when they play pretend or make up a dance. Adults express creativity when they put together an outfit or decorate their homes.

Creativity is what gives life zing. It brings us joy, gives us meaning, and helps us to connect with one another.

Innovation creates a specific type of progress. It is often used in the professional world because it is a way to deliver better products and a better customer experience. While it does exist outside of a professional context, it does tend to lend itself to financial gain in ways that creativity may not.

Perceived Value

In today’s society, we often forget that endeavors or skills that aren’t money-making are still worth it. As a result, we do see people placing a higher value on innovation than on creativity.

However, we need both to thrive. Whether your creativity adds a little spark of joy to your day or helps others to feel more in-tune with themselves, it matters. Innovation drives progress but creativity makes life meaningful.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Creativity

It’s easy to assume that there aren’t many differences between creativity vs innovation or that one matters more than the other. We hope that this guide shed light on those confusing places so that you can appreciate the power of both creativity and innovation a little more.

Looking for ways to express your love through creative means? Wondering how to add innovation to your business? Take a look around for more handy guides that will enrich your life.

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