Creativity the Dream; Innovation the Reality

Student Jessie Shu, a popular food blogger, discusses the differences between creativity and innovation

Our modern society has seemed to conflate the terms creativity and innovation, labelling their ideas either “creative” or “innovative” in an attempt to elevate the originality of their content. I’ve been victim to this myself, spicing up my essays by throwing in these buzzwords without precisely knowing its points of difference. But I think falling into this trap is dangerous, as both business experts stress that these two terms actually share a world of difference.

I first realised this when I was at an advertising lecture at university. I was a keen first year at the time, and my ears perked up when my professor started busting myths and misconceptions surrounding the creative industry. It was riveting stuff (and I don’t mean that sarcastically) because all those misconceptions, in my eyes, seemed like true-to-life facts.

So… creativity and innovation! How do you separate these two terms? Theodore Levitt, in the Harvard Business Review, puts it very simply -

‘Creativity refers to the thinking up of new things whereas innovation relates to the doing of new things’’

The international bestseller, Business: The Ultimate Resource defines it another way but more or less arrives at the same point -

Creativity: the generation of new ideas by approaching problems or existing practices in innovative or imaginative ways… Creativity is linked to innovation, which is the process of taking a new idea and turning it into a market offering.

So it seems creativity is only half the battle, just sitting at the front end of a process that waits for the desired end goal of innovation. Innovation, on the other hand, has a firm grip in practical logistics. Innovation is about coming up with proper strategies and systems to transform those ideas into value-laden and profitable entities. Many workplaces today struggle with innovation — they have a million brilliant ideas streaming through the door but no logistical system to implement any of these ideas effectively.

Not only do the limitations of innovation find their way into workplaces, but also in the spirits of the budding entrepreneur. It’s an age-old tale to hear young Bob (let’s just call him good ol’ Bob) finding himself at the breakthrough of an extraordinary idea, but he just discards it soon after realising the gravity of this idea far exceeds any of his capabilities. In other words, his inability to innovate stops him in his tracks. Like Bob, many ambitious individuals just can’t seem to proceed past the point of creativity because so many logistical barriers stand in their way.

And that’s where Austern International comes in — to break down those proverbial barriers to see one creative’s extraordinary idea become a living and breathing reality.

When Lily told me about the new revitalised Austern International program, I was excited about this opportunity to foster students’ ingenuity. Helping to bridge that gap between creative and innovation was something I was proud to stand for. Austern International is devoted to realising young entrepreneur’s dreams equipping students with the resources and skills to develop their brilliant start-up ideas.

Austern 3 Weeks Global Leadership Program

I’ve sat here, writing what the experts have to say about the differences between creativity and innovation. In my own words, I see creativity the dream and innovation the reality!

Are you a creative dreamer with a brilliant idea? Apply to Austern International to become a practical innovator by realising that start-up dream of yours!


Jessie Shu is an avid food blogger, ranking #5 on Zomato’s Sydney leaderboard. Her blog is called Droolworthyworld , and she runs it with her sister Daisy and friend Jack. She currently is in her third year studying Media (PR and Advertising) and Law at the University of New South Wales.

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