Tag Archives: building

What is innovation anyway?

As mentioned in my blog last week ‘What innovation isn’t” I think innovation is an overused term.

According to Oxford Dictionaries online (does anyone own a dictionary anymore? – there’s innovation for you)

‘Innovation is ‘the action or process of innovating a new idea, method or product’

I don’t think that’s is particularly helpful in explaining innovation so I’ve attempted to put a list together to help make more sense of innovation.

Innovation is

1. A series of previously unconnected connections put together in new ways.

2. Survival. If organisations do not adapt to changing markets and customer needs they will die. Innovation is essential in order to survive.

3. Either incremental, so small changes or efficiencies to a current process or product, for example improving your data capture to ensure that you get donor details right, developing a really great newsletter… the list is endless

4. Or a radical or step change that alters things as they are, for example MP3 players changing the music market, Botton Village giving donors choices or the invention of the world wide web

5. Lead from the top. Leaders must walk the walk for innovation to succeed in a business. It needs to be part of the culture and part of everyone’s job.

6. All about you, your unique experiences and thoughts that create new ideas that are put into action. All humans have the capability to create and innovate. You just got to find your Element.

7. About gathering insight from everywhere you can in order to spot new opportunities to develop products and services. Look outside of what you know for fresh insights.

8. Working in collaboration, sharing, listening, building on each others ideas. (no group hugs)

9. Fun. Forget the pressures of everyday life and chill the hell out. That’s when you will have your best thoughts.

10. About having a go, taking action, driving change and convincing people to give the new idea a try.

11.  Failure. Innovation and failure are best mates. Fact. Their other friend is risk. If you take a risk to try something new, you may fail. The most important part is what you learn in order that you can return and succeed.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” Sir Ken Robinson 

12. Having attitude and belief that you are going to find a way to succeed no matter what.

13. Focusing on where you will make the most difference. You can’t innovate about absolutely everything so focus on the areas that are going to make the most impact.

14. Being brave. Standing out from the crowd. To trailblaze. To lead the way.

15. About breaking patterns. Humans are creatures of habit, it’s much easier to sit it out in your comfort zone where there is little risk of failure (see point 11). To innovate you need to break your ‘normal’ patterns of thought to develop something new.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

16. Being curious about the world. Asking why more.

17. A robust process combined with gut feel. Some famous innovations were designed for something entirely different. Viagra was originally developed for high blood pressure with interesting side effects….

18. Exciting. Coming up with new ideas is super exciting. Isn’t it?

19. Lasting success. An innovation strategy should balance incremental changes with longer-term objectives to survive in the long-term.

20. About making a difference. That’s why I do it.

What else is innovation? I’d love to hear your thoughts.