While innovation and creativity are used synonymously, they do not quite mean the same thing when it comes to entrepreneurship. Creativity as discussed in the previous article is the first step towards embarking on an entrepreneurial venture as it empowers people to conceive novel and unique ideas. However, once these ideas have been conceived, innovation comes into play in transforming these ideas into businesses. Entrepreneurs need innovation to think of strategies to craft business models which can then be used to develop business plans. With a robust business plan at hand, entrepreneurs can communicate effectively to their stakeholders to take their business to the next level.
Take for instance Geomagic, a 3D software company which was co-founded by computer entrepreneur Ping Fu. She had an innovative idea to create what she calls a “Personal Factory” which combines internet technology with traditional manufacturing to bring customized products to the consumers. Such a technology for instance enables shoes to be custom made to the exact size of an individual’s feet which minimizes the hassle of finding the right pair. Geomagic is also being tapped on to recreate limbs and even enhance cleft palate treatment for newborns. Ping Fu’s innovative vision and enterprising spirit led her to beappointed as a member of President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2010.
An innovative mind is also analytical with the ability to think out of the box. This not only enables entrepreneurs to guide their ventures in a systematic and clear manner but also allows them to troubleshoot problems that may arise along the way. The ability to find solutions to even the most perplexing problems is what sets innovation apart from creativity. Creativity can be seen as that initial bright spark that provides the initial impetus to a business venture, it is innovation, which sustains the entrepreneurial venture and steers it to success. It may seem confusing but let’s put this way – creativity alone will not create companies, you need innovative ideas and business models to transform your creative ideas to create successful companies.
“Creativity alone will not help you solve problems. Employing an innovative mind to use creative ideas is what entrepreneurs do best.”-Inderjit Singh, The Art and Science of Entrepreneurship.