Creativity, Design and Innovation

During the past few weeks (and for a few more weeks) I have had the pleasure of being a part of the creative process of a group of students designing for a competition. During this time I have come to realise that there is a unclear difference between creativity, design and innovation. What are each of them? How are they different? ..and what is it to be all three.

Every third person you meet is a designer in some way but this does not mean they are creative or innovative….and if that is what defines design, then surely they are not all designers?

To begin, here is a definition of creativity by Andy Rutledge:

Creativity is an inborn capacity for thinking differently than most, seeing differently, and making connections and perceiving relationships others miss. But most importantly, it is the ability to then extrapolate contextually useful ways of employing that data: to create something that meets a specific challenge. (Andy Rutledge)

So creativity is the development of an ‘idea’.

The definition of design from what I can gather is the solution to the obstacles put in the way of the creative ‘idea’. Designing as a verb is the act of creating.

…and then what about innovation? I found a terrific slide show on Slideshare that explains innovation very well. I best like the description that it is the ability to deliver value.

Breaking it down I feel that in order to call yourself a ‘designer’ you need to fulfill all three of the above criteria. There is no point coming up with an idea that has already been done, there is no point designing something that has already been designed, and lastly there is no point in doing anything unless it has value. To be all three is GOOD CREATIVE DESIGN and that should be the goal of everything we do, so yes, we can all be designers but how good a designer can be measured by how well these three definitions fit.

3 thoughts on “Creativity, Design and Innovation

  1. Anja says:

    Wendren, now you’ve opened an interesting can of worms. This calls for debates etc. My tech. N.D. from many moons ago stipulates that I’m a Ceramic Designer and interestingly people used to say: ” oh so you design tiles and factory tea/coffee sets and stuff. Like most ‘designers’ I’m involved in the whole creative process from start to finish and reinventing or reinterpretating a centuries old perfected craft/art form and all 3 processes are important. I’m just putting out a short version because this triggers other topics like craft versus art etc. Anyways, also congrats on your exposure.
    Regards Anja

  2. oliver mensah says:

    I think we are all born designers but how we collate ideas to solve a problem in order to give a realistic value is the best

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