Redefining ‘Innovation’

Economist correspondent Vijay Vaitheeswaran is currently speaking at the Arthur Page Society Spring Meeting on the topic of “Sustaining Value in a Drastically Altered Economy,” and he is proposing an interesting take on a buzzword that has become jaded  from overuse: Innovation. He argues that, while “the only way through today’s perfect storm is innovation,” the word is profoundly misinterpreted and misused.

“I do have a problem with the word innovation,” he says, “because it means all things to all people, which makes it mean nothing at all.” His theory: Innovation is inaccurately tied to invention, which no longer aptly defines it.

“Innovation is not invention,” he says. “Increasingly, invention and technology are a less important part of the innovation process. Much more important, and what’s often lost, is the connection with value creation, which differentiates the two.”

It’s a good conversation for communications executives to consider. After all, aren’t they the key drivers of innovation within organizations?

By Courtney Barnes