Innovative vs. creative


I caught up with an old design colleague of mine the other day and we had fun sharing a few trips down memory lane. Our topic of conversation turned to the 'creative type' of people who used to hang around the cafes near our design studio. The 'creative types' ranged from marketing & advertising types to your graphic & visual artists.

One of our favourite past times was to try and spot the 'creatives' from the advertising agency and try and work out their job. Were they a copywriter, a graphic designer or a marketer?  An observation we made was that the 'über creative' types would go to an extreme effort to try to look creative. 

I'll never forget there was one creative who we established was the head creative of a major advertising agency. He had a penchant for feral mohawks, bad fitting clothes and wait for it fluorescent socks of different colours on each foot.

As the years rolled by I found that people in 'creative roles' seemed to spend more energy on looking creative rather than being innovative. While creative thinking can help lead to innovation, more often than not, left alone it becomes a distraction and pointless disruption. Innovation is primarily about creating great ideas and taking them to market for commercial gain. 

If you don't look creative and don't have a creative job, chances are you're already innovative. Some of the most extraordinary innovative inventions, products and ideas come from the most ordinary people, and by that I mean those of us who are deemed 'creative'. One of the most iconic brand logos of all time the Coca-Cola logo wasn't designed by a creative designer, it was designed by the bookkeeper Frank Robinson. If a bookkeeper can design a world famous logo design, then you too can apply your innovation. 



Nils Vesk

Founder of Ideas with Legs | Innovation speaker | consultant | author

nils vesk