Over the years, entrepreneurs have become more and more associated with creativity. So much so that when you meet an entrepreneur (especially a successful one), you automatically assume that they must have some creative and innovative qualities. But why is this assumption and association made?
Well, one of the most important requirements of a successful entrepreneur is to offer something of unique value to the marketplace and to fill a niche gap in the market. To pull this off effectively, it usually requires some levels of creativity and innovation. The ‘creative entrepreneur’ stereotype has been further cemented by eccentric, highly creative, and famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Elon Musk and the like.
In this article, we have a look at the distinct and interesting links between creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship and why some of the most successful entrepreneurs are known for being exceptionally creative.
The difference between creativity and innovation
People often get confused about the difference between creativity and innovation and use the terms synonymously.
Creativity can be defined as the ability to develop original concepts and ideas. Aesthetic flair is an important factor when it comes to creativity.
Innovation is the ability to create offshoots, create changes to, or build on already existing ideas, services, and products.
Essentially, creative concepts are usually new and original that take inspiration from outside sources, while innovative concepts are usually built upon a pre existing idea. Inventions would be ideas, products or concepts that are entirely new and never seen before. They represent a leap in forward-thinking and, often, technology.
Entrepreneurs and creativity
Creativity helps entrepreneurs with one of the most important steps in their business journey: coming up with a business idea. Entrepreneurs with high levels of creativity are often able to come up with exceptionally creative business ideas that fill a niche gap in the market.
Entrepreneurial creativity and artistic creativity are very similar in that entrepreneurs may find inspiration from their favourite books, TV shows, nature, conversations, as well as existing products and services. Brainstorming and mind mapping are the two main methods in which entrepreneurs may use creativity to come up with ideas (coming up with ideas is also known as ideation).
But creativity does not only assist entrepreneurs in the initial stages of coming up with a business idea. Creativity will also be highly valuable in terms of:
- Coming up with branding and marketing ideas
- Ideas for blogs, other SEO-related content
- Finding creative solutions to everyday business problems
- Fun and exciting social media strategies
- A good balance of linear and lateral thinking
Does an entrepreneur need to possess high levels of creativity to be successful? Of course not, but it definitely helps! Creativity is all around us, and when you start noticing it, it is hard not to be inspired! Creativity can be found in fine art, nature, advertisements, and so much more.
But remember, creativity is practically useless if it is not properly harnessed and implemented.
Entrepreneurs and innovation
Innovation is a change that adds value to an existing idea, product, service or concept. Many business ideas are innovations of things that already exist. There should be a focus on the ‘adding value’ of innovation because just because you change up an existing product or business model slightly does not mean that you are creating a better version of it in order for innovations to be successful.
Innovation is often a response to changes in the market as well as progressions in outside markets. It should be noted that all innovations are purely creative, and many can be primarily logical in their conception.
Having a good hold on innovation is very important for entrepreneurs. We live in a fast-paced and ever-changing society, with new advances in technology occurring all the time. If an entrepreneur can embrace these changes and find ways to add additional value to them, they are bound to find success in their respective field.
Not only will an innovative mindset be advantageous in coming up with products, services, and business ideas, it will also be exceptionally helpful when it comes to adapting to change and finding new and improved ways of doing things in your business structure.
Disruptive innovation should also be mentioned. Disruptive innovation is a process of innovation that significantly affects the market by making a certain product more accessible and affordable to more consumers and has the ability to reshape an entire industry. A great example of this would be Uber.
Can creativity and innovation be cultivated?
Some people believe that you are either born with creative and innovative tendencies…or not. What is more likely is that your creativity levels are developed in your formative years, depending on what activities you were exposed to as a young child. In adulthood, most adults clearly define themselves as either being very creative or not creative at all.
The truth is that even those who do not deem themselves to be creative have dormant creativity lying inside of them. This creativity can be awakened through simple activities such as drawing, creative writing, mind mapping, reading fiction, and more. There are even apps that you can download on your phone that help cultivate your creativity.
Aspiring entrepreneurs that feel that they are not inherently creative could find immense value in dedicating time to expanding their creativity.
More than just creativity and innovation
While innovation and creativity play a big role in the potential success of an entrepreneur, entrepreneurs also need to possess somewhat opposing skills such as organisation, analytical mindset, attention to detail, etc. An entrepreneur cannot only be a dreamer. They need to have the practical skills to bring their dreams and great ideas to life.
What many creatives lack is a sense of direction, as well as a hard work ethic. They can often be somewhat lazy and procrastinate when it comes to putting ideas into motion.
On top of personal skills, they’ll also need to gain knowledge on how the economy works, be aware of their competition and know about the regulations surrounding starting up a business. Only then will they know which ideas can be implemented successfully.