the blog Synergy

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Innovation - Definition Discussion

Excellent posting over at CPH127 by Niti Bhan:

"Yesterday I attended a conversation on innovation hosted by MIG at Berkeley's Haas School of Business. It was a small informal gathering, and Victor Lombardi had kindly invited me to join the discussion. It was kicked off by Scott Hirsch, a principal of MIG with a definition of innovation he had found on the web. I'd link to it, I think it's wikipedia but as there was no source given I'm not wholly sure. This is what he used,

Innovation: An implementation of a new or significantly improved idea, good, service, process or practice intended to be useful. [ I would add the words revenue or profit in there, for the business context, else why innovate?] "

This is a good start and I liked how Harry Max from Dreamworks Animation revealed that he has trouble defining the word. He listed four things that innovation is not:

Reacting - Innovation wasn't reacting, that is, responding to changes in technology or the market
Dreaming - Innovation was not dreaming, that is, envisioning a better future as dreaming was not time dependent but free floating.
Planning - Innovation was not planning, as that was nothing more than structured dreaming, or creating a road map to achieve a goal or get somewhere
Designing - Innovation was not designing, as designing is making an idea or concept tangible, solving a problem or making something better.

He also listed five things that innovation should take advantage of from Improv

Listening & Self-Awareness
Accepting and making offers (Yes, And...)
Moving into action with full commitment
Staying nimble

For the full posting read here.

Pressed to come up with my own definition of innovation, I believe I would have started with one or more of the items that Harry tosses out, so I would have had to go back to the drawing board.

With a little luck, reflecting upon the good things that have come from working in a group, I should have come close to Harry's second listing.

Then if I had not already, I would have turned to some associates and asked for help.

What do you think? Can you help to improve upon the definition for innovation?


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