Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What the heck is innovation?

Innovation seems to be the new “it” word. It’s not a new concept. Possibly innovation being in fashion is due to the practice business has of using a word as a solution instead of digging into root causes and desired outcomes.

Like creativity, innovation can be a daily habit or a scary proposition. It is not owned by any one industry, department or function. It is more than a word – it’s a mindset and approach.
An online business dictionary simplifies the term as: “The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value.”

My issue with that definition is that innovation cannot be broken into a simple checklist and handed off for execution. The definition avoids the behavioural /thinking component that managers, wishing to get to end of job quickly, prefer to dodge.

Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than doing the same thing better.”  Doing something differently can be mindset and/or process. As change specialists know, you can’t just change the process and expect things to be magically better.

Innovation, however the discussion starts, can only serve to bring back more critical and wholistic thinking…something many have moaned has been sorely lacking in a subject matter expert culture focused on short-term and silo’d approaches.

Does it fit into your view of your work in 2014?

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