Redefining ‘Innovation’

Posted on April 2, 2009 
Filed Under General

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

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