What is innovation? If you read the popular press, or academic journals, you will find a multitude of definitions. The reason for this is that the word innovation as a social term, one defined by the culture and context in which is used. Although, not academically defined, we all do have a sense of what makes something innovative, but it is difficult to create innovations and drive a consistent innovation process without a concrete concept.
My definition of innovation is “the continual creation of new value.” The creative component refers to the realization or invention of something new and different that has never before been conceived of or produced. The value of that creation lies in the benefit that it provides to you and to others such as your customers. But even brand new, value-adding creations can become mainstream, conventional, or even obsolete over time. That’s why companies who want to be innovative have to engage in a continual process. Otherwise the innovators of today will be irrelevant tomorrow.
Look what’s happened to the incandescent light bulb, the desktop computer, and the landline telephone. There were remarkably innovative in their day. But now they are being phased out and replaced by newer and better innovations.