Is Creativity & Innovation enough?

I just finished reading Chase Jarvis‘ post titled “Creativity alone is not enough“.

In this article, Chase argues that Creativity isn’t enough for people working in the creative world (photographers, designers, etc).  Jarvis argues that creative folks need to embrace other mindsets (such as being different, brilliant and innovative) to be successful. According to Jarvis, The key to success in the future for creatives is innovative thinking.

But what is innovation?

To me, Innovation is ‘creating something new’. This ‘newness’ can be built upon something old, but it is a new implementation of the old that is innovative.

Jarvis describes it this way:

it’s hard to say what innovation is. But if I can’t say exactly what it is, I most certainly know what it is not. It doesn’t look or sound at all like the status quo.


Innovation is not the status quo.

The act of innovating is the act of moving away from the status quo.

Then why is there so much status quo around if innovation is the buzzword of the last few years?

I can’t really say….some people blame the recession.  Me?  I blame organizations.  I blame the herd mentality that exists in most organizations today that doesn’t allow individuals’s ideas and creativity to flow.

Sure there are those companies that are innovative and creative (think Apple and Google) but why can we only think of a handful of ‘innovative’ companies (Fast Company lists the Fast 50 – the 50 most innovative companies).    50 out of how many thousands and thousands of companies in this world?

Why so little true innovation?  Is it because it’s hard?  Maybe.  Is it because innovation is risky? Perhaps.

But…from my experience, innovation is difficult because people don’t realize that the status quo (i.e., what you are doing today) isn’t enough to keep you where you are or get you where you want to be.

So…Is Creativity & Innovation enough?


You’ve got to add a little chutzpa (four year of blogging and I FINALLY got to use that word!). Take some risk. Do something bold and daring.

I’ve been hearing the cliche ‘move the needle‘ an awful lot around the workplace lately.   Every project is measured against whether it will ‘move the needle’ or not. Although no guidance is given on what that needle is measuring. I can move the needle all day long with small un-risky projects that don’t do anything to change the status quo.  Or…I can break the damn needle off and move the organization. Which do you want to do?  Move the needle…or move the organization?

With a little creativity and innovative thinking added to a little sprinkling of courage, you’ll make a positive and lasting change in your life, organization and in this world.

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19 responses to “Is Creativity & Innovation enough?”

  1. bhagwansinghkhanka Avatar

    I would agree with the fact that creativity and innovation is risky. Behind every successful product there are numerous failed ones. In todays world where the mantra is to do more with less organizations can either risk big bucks to come up with a innovative way or follow the herd and try to maintain the costs. Google, Apple and gang chose to excel in taking risk; why because maybe they have the moolah to suffer a failure and still be on the top. Less fortunate companies that did not innovate during the better times cannot risk now. They fear loosing everything if they delve in innovation.

  2. mikemyatt Avatar

    Hi Eric:

    I enjoyed this post and concur that while creativity and innovation are linked, they are definitely not one in the same. You might enjoy reading this post as well:

  3. Reading – Is innovation and creativity enough? via@ericdbrown

  4. Reading – Is innovation and creativity enough? via @ericdbrown

  5. ericbrown Avatar

    Thanks MIke. I agree…creativity and innovation are different things. I'm not arguing that they are the same. They just aren't enough sometimes.

  6. RT @mikemyatt: Reading – Is innovation and creativity enough? via @ericdbrown

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  10. Eva Hasson Avatar

    Hi Eric,
    I really enjoyed reading your post. But the truth is the concept put forward by Chase Jarvis was first conceived by Gideon Amichay – Chief Creative Officer at Y&R Tel Aviv – as mentioned by Chase in his article.

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  12. ericbrown Avatar

    Thanks Eva – Good information to have. Great concept. I missed the line in Chase's article pointing to Gideon's contribution.

  13. ericbrown Avatar

    Hi Bhagwan – good to see you!

    Great comment….excellent insight. It's precisely now when companies should risk big. If the risk now in the recession, they'll be better suited to come out much healthier when the economy picks up.

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