Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What's Your Definition of Innovation?


With the Front End of Innovation conference just weeks away, I’ve been reflecting on the many different definitions and meanings for the word innovation. Here’s a snapshot of a few of my favorites. Take a look and let me know what you think. Is the right answer A, B, C, or some/none/all of the above?
Innovation is...
A)     Seeing and connecting the dots (by David Brier, Branding Expert and Fast Company Blogger). What I like about David’s definition is its simplicity. Some people see dots and some don’t. For those who see the dots, it’s about exploring, questioning, and connecting them. While the definition is simple, its broadness may be a shortcoming. When so many things can be considered innovation, perhaps nothing is really innovative anymore. Hmm. Read more on the Fast Company Blog.
 
B)      A taxonomy of activities including Novelty, Creation, Invention, and Innovation (by Horace Dediu, Technology Analyst). Horace saw a problem and he coined the term “innoveracy” to describe it. Innoveracy is the misuse of the word innovation and the inability to tell the difference among Novelty, Creation, Invention, and Innovation. In Horace’s definition, Novelty is something new, Creation is something new and valuable, Invention is something new and having potential value through utility, while Innovation is something new and uniquely useful. In this way, the taxonomy is hierarchical and Innovation is the product of Novelty, Creation, and Invention. While the definition is brings a bit more clarity, I wonder if the formulaic nature holds true in all cases? Does innovation really = Novelty + Creation + Invention (etc.). Hmm. Read more on the Asymco Blog.

C)     When a large group of people change what they used to think, know, or do for something fundamentally different (by Dean Kamen, Entrepreneur and Inventor). In Dean’s definition he takes into consideration behavior change. What I like about this is that innovation doesn’t really matter unless it is embraced. Out of the three definitions, I gravitate towards Dean’s the most. It could be that I like the bias towards action, as well as, the rational + emotional insight. Read more on the Discovery Blog.
 
D)     Some/None/All of the above

Regardless of your definition of innovation, there’s one thing certain – FEI 2014 will surely offer an eye opening experience. Hope to see you there!
 
Alicia Arnold holds a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and an M.B.A in Marketing from Bentley University. She enjoys writing about creativity and innovation and is published with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Huffington Post, The National Association of Gifted Children, and iMedia Connection. In her role as an award winning, digital marketer, she uses her passion for creativity and innovation to develop breakthrough digital and social experiences. You can connect with Alicia on Twitter @alicarnold.

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