Innovation or Creativity?

I enter the room. The room is filled with several people. There is ‘the boss’. There is ‘the dad’. There are seven more persons in the room.

‘The boss’ explains the rules. “Just observe and repeat.” He says. ‘The dad’ does. I observe…..

He bends down. Yanks out something invisible from something invisible. The second something must be some container. He moves the first something in the air. The first something must be some cloth!! Yes! He is hanging freshly washed clothes on an invisible clothesline. He moves it sideways, from left to right. From right to left. It can be a duster. But No. He is using both of his hands. It’s funny to use both hands while dusting the board. He turns right. Repeats. It annoys me. He is cleaning walls. Yes! That makes sense. Perfect. The dad once again turns right and repeats. It once again annoys me. Yes! He is cleaning a room with four walls. That’s it. Well done, mate.

And now it is my turn. ‘The Daddu’ enters the room. Same series of events occur. I start and do what I think is perfect imitation of ‘the Dad’. But I am not surprised when I notice that everyone is laughing. ‘The chaachu’ laughs. ‘The Maamu’ laughs. ‘The boss’ laughs. Even myself. I realize I can’t control it and so let it happen. ‘The daddu’ is confused. Should he laugh or what should he do? ‘The dad’ laughs most heartily. As I wash an invisible room with four invisible walls….

It feels stupid. But it has to be done. Anyhow. It is not a party. It is not that funny game where you have to guess the name of a movie from the hand movements of your partner. But it is a game nevertheless. Or as has been told to us…

‘The bhaiya’ enters the room. ‘The daddu’ takes my place. I go back to the chair near ‘the chaachu’. It somehow calms me down. ‘The dad’ had ordered me to sit there, beside ‘the chaachu’.

And now, ‘the Daddu’ starts doing it. But no. He is using only one hand. I am sure he thinks he is sure that I was surely dusting the board and that too wrongly. ‘The chaachu’ is howling. ‘The Maamu’ too is howling. With laughter of course. Grasping a huge portion of his belly. I am on my toes. Someone may fall. ‘The Daddu’ rotates himself to the right and resumes his clever manifestation of dusting the board. A four-sided board? The bhaiya looks around sheepishly. First at ‘the daddu’ and then at nowhere particular.

The room is air-conditioned. There is a projector. There is also a white-board. There are a dozen chairs around a round table. The atmosphere is perfect for a workshop. The boss is our instructor and we are a bunch of morons who want to know about lean management. I use the nomenclature popularly used in the R land to identify local role models. I won’t disclose their scientific names because there is no concrete reason to do so. We were fed up with Muda, Mura and Muri and so the instructor turned on to a game. The game as can be seen is clearly one of the most interesting of games. We are learning to wash walls and dust boards and of course laugh out aloud. But there is a concept involved. The boss remarks.

Actually, there are various concepts which were taught to us in that two day workshop. The three M’s that I have mentioned before. Taiichi Ohno and Toyota and Americans and Japan. The assembly line and the value stream. The concept of VSM and Kanban and Kaizen. Five components of lean thinking. Value, Value stream, Flow, Pull and Perfection. If you are interested. Various types of times like TAKT-time. This was the first ever and only workshop I have attended till date. I gained a lot from it. It was a nice experience experiencing the applications of not so interesting theory that we mug-in in the college.

There were some very boring questions asked by the instructor during the workshop. Like who is the father of lean management? Like what are the five components of lean thinking? But there were some good one too. And some were very good. Now it happens that it is one of those very good questions and its equally good answer that made me write this particular post. And that is what I ask you…

What, is exactly the difference between INNOVATION and CREATIVITY?

Now, as it occurs, IITians are (considered as) (??) very innovative as well as creative people. So they gave very ingenuous answers to the question. Like….

“Innovation is related to an idea, where as creativity is related to some tangible object.”

“Creativity is making things from natural objects like wood, where as innovation is creating objects from man made things.”

“Innovation is something when we innovate and creativity is related to something that we create.”

“Innovation is related to scientists and creativity to engineers…..or the vice versa??”

“Innovation starts with I and Creativity starts with C.”

And blah..blah..blah..

By the way, what do you think? Think think. Tell tell…..

After all the relatives were done with all that mimicking and laughing and falling, the boss told us the concept he wanted to relate through that interesting game. The chaachu knew what the actions were meant to be. So he stood up. And told the other people what the actions were meant to be. My mouth twisted in arrogance as he started telling that it was related to some cleaning. But it dropped down when I heard that it was actually the process of washing an elephant!! Then it took an unfamiliar shape and… and what? It just took an unfamiliar shape….

The chaachu acted and showed how to wash an elephant. How to clean its trunk and how to clean its tail. The instructor told us that that is how a thing gets distorted when it passes through a couple of hands or mouths for that matter, successively. Distorted?? Dude, the message got completely transformed from washing an elephant to dusting of a board!!

And there was a game in which we made the employees of a card-making company. I was given the task of applying a bindi in the middle of the card. We enjoyed it. The session. We discussed various ways of improving the productivity of the company. One of them included the replacement of our peon. The peon emphasized on the application of “pull system” to increase the effectiveness of value stream. It was fun. Actually too much of it…..

And now I go back to the question I raised before.

What, exactly is the difference between INNOVATION and CREATIVITY?

Now there can be many ways of explaining it. Like I read a few articles in which the same question was raised. You can have a look: 1, 2, 3, 4

But the best and simplest explanation I could get was from the instructor. I would like share it with you:

Creativity is developing new things: objects or ideas.

Innovation is developing new uses for them.

For example:

Developing Bluetooth technology was creativity.

Using this technology to send messages and pictures, using it to operate machines is innovation.

One more example can be:

God created flowers. That is creativity.

We use them to propose our loved ones. That is innovation. Whatsay??

But one thing is important to note. Creativity and Innovation go hand in hand. We can’t separate them. There is no use making an object which has no use. We need both for the development of mankind.

By the way, what is the difference between SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY?

Or for that matter, between DISCOVERY and INVENTION? (An easy one!!)

What say??

COMMENTS ARE INVITED.

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One Response to Innovation or Creativity?

  1. thank for sharing an amazing idea

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