Creativity and innovation are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they mean entirely different things. When we were looking for a title for Central Seminary’s new Doctor of Ministry curriculum, we considered a number of possibilities. Although titles often restrict rather than describe, we settled on the title of Creative Leadership. Some have asked why we did not use the term Innovative Leadership or if the terms don’t really mean the same thing. Let’s unpack that a bit.
Creativity is the ability to come up with something new and valuable. Innovation is the ability to do something with it. We can generate plenty of creative ideas through various techniques, but those ideas only become innovative when they are put into action. As Franz Johansson says in The Medici Effect, “Creative ideas are valuable. Innovative ideas are realized.”
In terms of the Doctor of Ministry program, we are seeking not only for those who can come up with new ideas but who can implement them. That’s where leadership comes in. Innovations “stick” when they become the property not only of an individual but of a group of people.
A basic idea in the Doctor of Ministry program is that leaders lead—they call out the best in people and then put it into practice. The ability of leaders is not limited to their own capabilities and experience. True leaders invite others to offer their contributions and work together toward a common goal. We are looking for potential students who can mobilize the creative ideas of those within their organizations and then put them into practice.
We can play semantics with the terms at length, but creative ideas do not become relevant or innovative until they are realized. Both creating new approaches and putting them into practice is a team effort.
The Doctor of Ministry in Creative Leadership equips leaders to recognize and hone their own gifts as well as those of others. As a result, creativity is multiplied and innovation is assured.
Applications are being accepted for the January 2018 cohort.