For many folks who have been accustomed to standards and best known practices, the DIKW Pyramid clearly talks about the hierarchy and the relationships between the four levels of hierarchy. Data is the fundamental unit which is just observations which is hard to interpret alone. Once you infer something from data, it attains some meaning which is termed as information. Once you process and organize the information and give it some structure and then analyze it, it becomes Knowledge. When you apply knowledge in action, you develop competency. Knowledge is more theoretical and competency is more practical. And eventually, when you start becoming more effective and are able to make clear decisions, all attained by experience and continuous learning, you are termed wise. Thus, if one can define them loosely in an equation:
Information = Relevant Data + meaning or value
Knowledge = Processed Information + analysis or synthesis
Competency = Knowledge + application (this is just a step defined in between K and W)
Wisdom = Competency + experience
People confuse knowledge with intelligence which may not be correct. Creativity and Intelligence are more associated with some action and related to Innovation. Intelligence takes into account the ability to reason, be culturally aware and also be situationally correct.
Intelligence = Depth of Competence + reasoning ability
Creativity = Intelligence + Fun, according to Albert Einstein
Jiddu Krishnamurthy, a well-known Indian philosopher, adds Freedom to Einstein’s definition which I would approve as you need freedom to be creative. In a bounded environment, creativity is limited.
Some of these definitions may differ from some other definitions by researchers and scholars and are subject to other interpretations as well, but these are just defined in layman’s terms to give a clear picture to understand the information hierarchy and what more does it take to be innovative. The skills required for these two would be different, as the former is more execution relevant and the latter is more about using knowledge to create something new.
Disclaimer: All the above definitions and relationships already exist in some form and author has just compiled them cohesively together.