We all know what it means.

Or at least that is what leaders say.

But dig a bit deeper and you find a wide discrepancy between them.

For some it is new products or large technological breakthroughs or something like continuous improvement.

The reason it matters is that if the leaders cannot agree what it means how can anyone else in the organisation know what the concept means.

additionally if you don’t have a crystal clear definition then it is hard to measure and develop what I call a ‘why innovate story’.

This is a compelling and urgent reason why you should innovate.

An Innovation Definition:

Here it is.

Anything that is new or different that could create value

– It’s short.

– Hopefully it’s easy to remember.

– The emphasis is on anything — this means that innovation could be a new product service, way of engaging employees, a new piece of learning or how to run a meeting for example.

As long as it is new and different to what has been done before.

Under this definition,innovation can be big or small.

This means that anyone can play.

It encourages more innovative thinking, by more people, more often.

– It is also real.

There are no guarantees with innovation. In fact, most new products for example fail.

So a more realistic assessment with innovation is that it could add value.

But this is important because the value part of the definition reminds leaders and managers that simply being new and different can be creative but may not be innovative as there is no attempt to deliver value (e.g. encouraging staff to stand on their heads at lunchtime is creative but not innovative).

Innovation – Anything that is new or different that could add value

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