Monday, May 9, 2011

Defining Innovation


What is innovation? Webster defines it as the act of introducing something new. A bit nebulous isn’t it? By this definition, every time someone lobs a random aside into a conversation that is spontaneous verbal innovation. I’m not ready for that to be a thing. So, what is it?


Well, that depends. Maybe it’s not so simple. I think it depends on what innovation means to you and your organization. At Creative Realities we define innovation as the process of envisioning and successfully implementing new ways of doing anything that creates value for an enterprise and its customers. This is business innovation anyway, and fits with what we do – we provide innovation strategy services to a broad array of clients, thus its broad definition. I’ll even take it up a few thousand feet to “generic” innovation being the creation and execution of new ideas that create new value. So, it’s not just about creativity, or even ideas, it’s about coming up with something new and making it real. And, doing so in such a way that it creates novel value, for anyone or anything. This much I feel should be part of the definition, but I am open to alternative offers.


Perhaps there is a linguist out there who feels strongly that verbal innovation is a thing. I think I’ve talked myself into it now. Innovation can be uniquely, and personally, defined – it depends on the target. What is the innovation for? If a new word pops into the dictionary and is useful (i.e. valuable), then we’ve witnessed verbal innovation. For our purposes, we’ve defined business innovation. What does innovation mean to you and/or your organization?


How do you define innovation?


- Clay Maxwell (@bizinovationist)


Clay is a Business Innovationist with Creative Realities, an innovation strategy consulting firm. He is a frequent contributor to their Innovationist Blog where all things innovation are discussed and will be posting live from FEI 2011 in Boston May 16-18. You can find out more about Creative Realities at www.creativerealities.com

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