Small business BIG growth®
Words by Natasha Malkov, guest author



Creativity vs innovation – what’s the difference?

The terms “creativity” and “innovation” are often used interchangeably, however, the two are very different. In order to turn your creative idea into an innovation and ultimately reality it is important to understand the difference.


What is creativity?

Is it coming up with a new idea? Ones ability to come up with a solution to a problem? Thinking differently or simply changing or improving something that already exists?

All of the above are considered to be the process of thinking creatively. Many have difficulties identifying their creative abilities partly because they don’t recognise creativity as being part of their day-to-day thinking process.

The creativity thought process, like decision-making is something that occurs daily without us thinking consciously about it. Not having a strong belief in our own creative ability is the biggest barrier to finding and utilising our creative potential.

Thinking creatively is the pre-cursor to innovation! Innovation is the implementation of creative ideas that lead to change and ultimately value. In the workplace, this can be in the form of increased income/profits, reduced operational costs, creating a superior product or any other tangible outcome.

In the workplace, there are a number of reasons why creative ideas fail to become innovations, the most common being the concepts are weak in application or organisations fail to invest in implementing these ideas.

It is quite common for organisations to invest time and money into brainstorming sessions and other idea generation events that will occasionally result in business plans or prototypes, but a lot of the time ideas are killed when it comes to the implementation stage.



Implementing a new idea is often risky business and could prove very costly if the idea turns out to be a dud. What organisations don’t realise is what’s more costly is the investing in creative idea generation processes to generate ideas that will never be implemented! What a waste of creative time and energy!


Having an Idea Implementation Plan followed by a step-by-step Action Plan is necessary in turning a creative idea into an innovation and ultimately a reality!





Passionate about innovation and technology translation, Natasha is a PhD graduate from the Dept. of Medicine at Melbourne University, has 7 years small business operator experience, and recently established 2 start-up companies.

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