Creative Social: Innovation vs Creativity


Hosted by Digitas LBi, the latest Creative Social event saw some of the industries best sharing their ideas and thoughts on the big hitting question… vs Creativity.  A full house of professionals gathered to mingle, muse and to listen to the insight, wit and opinions provided by Chris Clarke, Ben Little, Victoria Buchanan, Nadya Powel, Sam Ball and Caitlyn Ryan.

There were chickens and eggs, unicorns, white men with beards and Michelangelo even popped in for the evening. In order to answer the question the terms were given a definition. It was then considered who came first… the chicken or the egg? Caitlyn reflected that creativity is the craft and innovation is the process. Essentially both are the need to let go of the familiar and Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel was referenced as an example of doing exactly that. Victoria stated that the two compliment each other “creativity is chasing innovation”.  The human relevance of creativity and the impact of innovation on business changing ideas and technology were both dually noted.

Ben pointed out that the two are one and the same thing – with strategy nestled in the middle. Chris weighed in with the commercial input brought about by innovation – which essentially should be about “turning stuff into money”.  Sam defined innovation as being transformational, long lasting and being there to solve a need. What also came through from all speakers is that innovation and creativity are influenced and also defined by the group of people involved in creating ideas and concepts around both. Change is perpetual and it’s about the individuals that collectively gather around an idea that will result in success.

The question of innovation vs Creativity also raised points deemed as bigger issues. Rather than trying to define the two, an emphasis was placed on the need to increase diversity in the industry.  Promoting women into key Senior roles (currently as rare as unicorns) and propagating a mix of cultures and ethnicities is essential to the growth of both Creativity and Innovation. Other challenges noted the effect of the bottom line on both creativity and innovation and the need to increase the willingness to take risks to disrupt thinking.

Creative Socials newest sponsor, Twitter, gave us all cute little tin buckets filled with sunflower seeds and Helen Lawrence kicked off a live poll to get the audiences opinion. The result? A dead heat between the two. The final tally reflected notes from all speakers and brought home the notion that the two need to coexist. Make sure you check out the hash tag #CSpresents on Twitter for audience insight and ideas.

In summary… Innovation seemed to come out as the more ‘sensible’ of the two ideas. Creativity could be a loose cannon at times. Creativity needed Innovation to develop technology, progress logically and manage the bottom line. Innovation needed creativity to help it come up with big ideas to achieve the solution, push risk taking and break boundaries. What became apparent is it’s not a question one verses the other but that these two need each other to exist. The outcome of the evening? Creativity and Innovation are getting hitched. Plant your Twitter sunflower seeds in time for the wedding. Save the Dates are on their way in the post.