Creativity and Innovation – The Power Couple

By Erin Walls, co-founder and director of WardWilliams Creative.

The Creative Shootout is a celebration of creativity.  Each year, from the initial entries to the final pitches, all the campaigns are packed with creative ideas and turbo charged with innovation. Which raises the question, can one exist without the other?

Relationship Between Creativity and Innovation

Are creativity and innovation the same thing?  No.

Are they inextricably linked?  Yes.

We use these words a lot, perhaps without contemplating what they really mean, and they are used almost interchangeably. Do you have to be a creative to innovate? Is there creativity without innovative thinking?

To begin with, creativity and innovation are not synonymous; there is a clear and important distinction between them. It is especially critical for businesses to understand this. Creativity is most often defined as the mental ability to conceive new, unusual or unique ideas, to see new connections between seemingly random or unrelated things.  Innovation, by contrast, is defined as the process that transforms those forward-looking new ideas into the real world via products, services, or processes of enhanced value.

Here’s a quote from Nadya Powell, MD of Sunshine and founder of Innovation Social. “Creativity loves innovation. Innovation is a type of creativity (but not vice versa). Without creativity, innovation can’t exist.”

Perhaps it can be added to Powell’s list, that without a desire for economic, environmental or social innovation – a desire for things to change for the better – creativity would have no need to exist?

Why is this distinction between Creativity and Innovation important?

It is important to recognise the importance and relevance of creativity and innovation – not just within creative industries – but across all aspects of business and development. In order to develop a truly innovative organisation, creativity must not be ignored or stifled.

Creativity can exist as nothing more than an idea. Innovation is the one who gets stuff done.

It is also important to note that creativity is possible in anyone – it is not reserved for the “artists” among us.  Anyone is capable of creative and innovative thinking, which is why it is so important to encourage creativity within every aspect of business, in every role.

Failure is Part of the Creative Process

“To live a creative life, we must lose out fear of being wrong” – Joseph Chilton Pierce

Innovation only really works when it’s led by creativity. It has been said that spreadsheets – i.e return for capital – kills innovation and as a result businesses often cling to safety, rather than take risks.  Trial, error and failure are not phrases we should shy away from. They are incredible learning tools and arguably another breeding ground for creativity.  If there was no problem to solve, there would be no need for a creative solution, and therefore no need to explore innovative ways to implement that solution.  When successfully implemented, exploiting both creativity and innovation can boost performance as well as the satisfy the spreadsheet.  There are other elements to consider when the creative project is for a charity.  As well as ROI – the success of a campaign is measured in terms of impact, social awareness and perhaps trying to change the mind set of an entire nation (last years’ Time to Change campaign).

Under Pressure

The Creative Shootout is a fascinating arena to create and innovate under pressure, with the added reward of creating a campaign for a charity.

Creativity doesn’t need infinite artistic freedom and ivory towers, but can in fact thrive when boundaries are imposed. When time and budgets are restricted a seriously creative team is needed to innovate the ideas into reality, as a tangible and functional campaign.  There isn’t a better example of the symbiotic relationship between innovation and creativity than The Creative Shootout.

So make sure you get get your Creative Shootout entry in and demonstrate your creative and innovative prowess, all for a fantastic cause – #Fare Share.  Enter by 28 November.