The curious case of Creativity, Imagination and Innovation

17 Sep 2019

The curious case of Creativity, Imagination & Innovation

If you have ideas but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative

The world we live in is born out of our ideas, beliefs, and imagination. While mother nature had a big role to play, the human mind created and nurtured today’s world as well. The most important gadget of a human being is sitting on top of their heads and it’s profoundly and uniquely creative but hugely underutilized as people don’t have a sense of their talents. Not only they don’t have a sense but they don’t know what talent to deploy when to create extraordinary outcomes for personal and professional success.

This human mind has a range of tools namely: Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation

  Imagination is thinking of anything which doesn’t exist in the present: An object, a situation or process. One has to step out of here and now to imagine.

Creativity is doing something really meaningful with that imagination. It is creating new ideas and imagining possibilities for any given set of problem, challenge or situation.

Innovation is the implementation of ideas which lead to new technology, new product or service, new method of production or improvement in an existing product. It is always deliberate and directed.

There is no innovation without creativity. For being creative, one has to be imaginative and for being innovative, one has to be creative.


Imagination is where we step out of the here and now. In Bill Watterson’s adventures of Calvin and Hobbes and how Calvin had Hobbes, an imaginary tiger as his friend is a great example of how art expresses ideas by being imaginative.

Walt Disney: The original Imagineer: Walt Disney said in 2014 “Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world”. Disneyland is that journey into one’s imagination.

Google Duplex: The creepily human-like upgrade of Google Assistant which can pick up calls and make restaurant reservations or salon appointments. Somewhere in the labs of Google, some lazy, dreamy guy imagined a world where he won’t have to get up from his seat and can call a restaurant and the reservation is done. Google duplex was imagined right there at that lazy guy’s seat. The jury is still out on Google duplex: a creative idea but yet to see if it is innovative.


Walt Disney – Coming up with many ideas for turning that imagination into something which can be felt and experienced is where creativity comes into play. By the year 2000, the Imagineering department of Walt Disney had been granted over 100 patents in areas such as advanced audio systems, fiber optics, interactive technology, live entertainment, ride systems, and special effects. That imagination converted to creativity is what we experience when we visit Star Wars zone or harry potter school set up or sleeping beauty castle in Disneyland today.

Uber – The concept of ride-sharing and making the driver’s jobs accessible to any individual was a creative idea. Garrett camp wanted to find a way to reduce the cost of direct transportation. An idea which struck him when he spent 800$ for a private cab post a New Year’s Eve party. He realized that sharing the cost with people could make it affordable, and his idea morphed into Uber.

Google Glass – A very creative idea that was new and very different in the market but not necessarily innovative as it couldn’t get the monetary return over investment made by the company.

Tesla: Driverless cars: An imaginative Musk comes up with many ideas on a daily basis and makes tall claims about how he would ensure the safety of the passenger in the driverless car.

“Mr. Musk said Tesla is developing “neural networks” of computers that can mimic the human brain and will enable driverless cars to operate safely using only cameras and radar sensors. Most other automakers are relying on cameras, radar and a type of laser-based radar known as lidar”.

Now what Mr. Musk is saying is Creativity at its best.


When Uber channeled its efforts in creating a solid business model based on the ideas which they originally had, it became an innovation.

Alibaba’s AliMe: It coordinates package deliveries over the phone and haggles with customers about the price of goods over chat. It was behind Alibaba’s $31 billion Single’s Day sales miracle in November last year.

AliMe can understand a customer’s emotion and then prioritize and alert human customer service agents to intervene. It can also remind sellers to increase inventory to keep up with the demand

While imagination draws a beautiful visual and tells a great story; creativity makes imagination happen and Innovation leverages both imagination and the art of creativity to remarkabley improve what exists today and create a better future.

This is part 1 of the blog where we established what is Imagination, Creativity and Innovation and the role each one plays. Part 2 of this blog will go deeper into creativity and how one can hone art of creativity as that is the foundation of innovation.

Beyonder: Our flagship program on creativity, in partnership with KNI, addresses the demand for the leaders of the future to be proficient in the art of creativity. It is a skill that can be learned and practiced. Beyonder’s foundation is in Whole Brain Thinking.

Some recent case studies on Whole Brain Thinking and Beyonder

Know more about Beyonder


Puja Puja, Managing Partner, Head of Coaching & Leadership Practice at Recalibrate Pvt. Ltd. 

Puja PujaPuja is a Columbia University certified coach and is acknowledged by business leaders and executives for connecting them and their organizations to their inner compass by leveraging Whole Brain Thinking.

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