Why Is It Important To Be Creative And Innovative At Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Creativity and innovation are qualities that can help professionals improve their performance and produce ideas that contribute to the growth of an organisation. People often use these terms interchangeably, but there are significant differences between them. Understanding these differences can help you express your creativity and create innovations in the workplace. In this article, we discuss why it is important to be creative and innovative, state the key differences between the two terms and refer to some examples of creativity and innovation.

Why Is It Important To Be Creative And Innovative?

Being creative and innovative helps you to solve different types of problems and create unique solutions. Without creativity and innovation, every business would offer the same goods and services. They would also all use the same promotional or marketing techniques, making everything quite monotonous.

When employers encourage employees to be creative, employees are more likely to generate unique ideas for business growth and use their ideas to improve business processes. By allowing employees to be innovative, employers encourage their employees to materialise their creative thoughts in the form of tangible solutions, such as technology, tools or physical products. Creativity and innovation can also encourage people to identify solutions to problems that the entire population encounters.

Related: What Are Creativity Skills? (With Examples And Benefits)

Key Differences Between Creativity And Innovation

The key differences between creativity and innovation are as follows:

Execution

Creativity involves generating new ideas, identifying new ways of doing something or solving problems in unique ways. It is about identifying ways of bringing ideas into reality. Innovation involves creating something new, like a product, technology or solution. While there are ideas behind innovations, execution is the most important aspect of innovation. You can describe creativity as an imaginative process, whereas innovation is a productive process.

Measurability

It is easy to measure innovativeness, as the result is most often a tangible solution. Conversely, it can be difficult to measure creativity as it relates to thoughts and imagination. Most often, the output of creativity is in the form of ideas and different intangible solutions to a problem.

Related: Creative Thinking: Definition, Development And Advantages

Monetary investment

It is possible to be creative at any time or place. It requires no money to think of creative ideas, new ways of doing simple things or different ways to present new information. As innovation involves materialising ideas, it requires monetary investment to make the product or create the solution.

Related: 13 Interesting Creative Jobs (With Duties And Salaries)

Importance Of Creativity And Innovation In The Workplace

By allowing employees to be creative and innovative in the workplace, employers help improve employee productivity and job satisfaction. Here are some reasons why creativity and innovation are important in the workplace:

Improves problem-solving

Employees often like to use their creativity to solve daily operational problems. By allowing employees to be creative in the workplace, employers can encourage them to think of unconventional solutions to problems. When employers promote innovativeness in the workplace, employees may identify unique solutions to client problems or help create interesting technological advancements within the company. For example, employees may think of ways to stimulate organisational growth, penetrate new markets or develop new product offerings to add to their product portfolio.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions And Examples

Motivates employees

Allowing employees to explore their creativity and innovativeness in the workplace gives employees a sense of freedom. This freedom helps them think of new ideas and solutions without the fear of making mistakes. It encourages them to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities and go beyond what employers require of them to contribute to the organisation's growth. When employers recognise employees for their ideas and efforts towards identifying solutions, it motivates employees to continue to be solutions-oriented in their thinking.

Related: How To Motivate Employees: 18 Steps For Workplace Success

Reduces workplace stress

Being creative in the workplace helps employees feel happy and boosts their confidence. It also helps increase employee morale when their innovative ideas produce tangible results. By engaging in creative activities at work, employees can experience reduced workplace stress and enjoy their work.

Related: What Is Business Innovation? (With Types And Examples)

Builds teamwork

Encouraging employees to be innovative and creative can also help promote teamwork. Employees with similar interests or matching strengths can come together to discuss creative ideas and brainstorm to identify the best available alternative. This can help build qualities in employees such as communication, patience, team spirit, interpersonal skills and leadership. Working in teams on creative ideas can also help create a pleasant work environment and improve employee productivity, lower turnover and increase effectiveness.

Related: Examples Of Teamwork Skills (And How To Improve Them)

Examples Of Creativity And Innovation

Here are some examples of creative innovations to help you understand the concepts better:

Light bulbs

Light bulbs are a great example of creative innovation that has also led to many more innovations after it. Before the invention of light bulbs, people illuminated their houses and rooms using lanterns, oil lamps, candles and fires. These solutions created a risk of fire and often resulted in major accidents that burnt down the entire house. Thinking of ways to address this problem of eliminating darkness at night requires creativity, whereas innovation helps materialise a solution to the problem, such as the concept of a light bulb.

Mobile phones

Before the invention of mobile phones, people communicated via letters, landlines, telegrams or other modes. Most of these methods were difficult to access, and delivery could take a long time. This led to efforts to create a solution that could make communication easy, accessible and quick, eventually leading to the invention of mobile phones. The creativity here involved identifying a way by which people could communicate easily, and the innovation was the cell phone.

Automobiles

People used to travel by foot or horse-driven carriages. Transportation using these modes was difficult, involving horses, landscapes and manual effort. With the invention of automobiles, transportation become easier and more convenient. Eventually, different versions of automobiles came into existence, including cars that have an autopilot feature that allows a car to drive without a driver.

Internet

The internet is another great example of creative innovation transforming how the world functions. To obtain information, people visited libraries to read books, listen to the radio, read newspapers and watch the television. The invention of the internet made all the information around the world easily accessible to people. Now the internet can solve most problems that people encounter. It can help people communicate with others, educate or entertain themselves, find solutions to their problems and conduct business.

Edible cutlery

Edible cutlery is one of the newest creative innovations that help in reducing plastic waste. While this type of cutlery can help you eat food, you can consume the cutlery too. Made of healthy ingredients, they are nutrient-rich, delicious and environment-friendly.

Computers

Before the computer and the Internet, people did all their work manually. They wrote books by hand or typewriters and processed large amounts of data manually. People performed data entry jobs manually into registers and books. It was difficult to perform complex calculations, send important business-related information quickly or connect with people online. Now, people can use computers for typing, calculation, communication and storage of data. Computers can perform the most difficult calculations, process large amounts of data within seconds and help businesses connect with franchises worldwide.

Hotels

Hotels changed how people travelled, which helped redefine the standards of comfort during travel. While people stayed in inns and tents earlier during travel, now there are different grades of hotels that provide different types of services. Within hotels, there are different types of innovations, such as self-check-in kiosks, electronic luggage tags, voice recognition technology in rooms and robot butlers.

E-commerce platforms

E-commerce platforms have changed the way people shop by connecting buyers and sellers. Through online shopping platforms, shoppers can browse product catalogues of different sellers and purchase whatever they like. To shop on such platforms, all that one requires is a mobile phone or a laptop and an internet connection. Several leading online shopping destinations offer benefits like one-day delivery, where anything a shopper purchases online can be delivered to them within 24 hours. These platforms have changed the way sellers have been selling products, and they have also influenced consumer behaviour significantly.

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