Innovation and creativity are related but they are by no means the same thing. Creativity is an input to innovation. It is about coming up with a new idea, whereas innovation is a process that takes that idea, tests it, perfects it, and implements it.
Though creativity is essential to the innovation process, the innovation process, by adding structure tailored to the needs, size, and culture of an organization, deadlines, and an evaluation component, is essential to creating a creative environment.
To maximize creativity, hold ideation sessions with as diverse and as creative of a group as possible. Avoid any restraints. Never dismiss or ignore an idea. Keep track of meeting minutes. Delegate responsibility, encourage ownership, and create clear and unwavering deadline pressure, while acknowledging incremental progress. Incentivize team members. Give team members some incentive for their contributions and achievements. Finally, create an environment where mistakes are not only tolerated, but encouraged.