What is Innovation?

The classical definition for innovate is “to introduce something new”, but it is more subtle than that. The word is overloaded with an understanding that an innovation is something which has an element of change to it – something which is an applied invention. In this sense, innovation is dependent on context, history and people whereas invention is timeless and abstract.

This aspect of innovation tends to make most writing about innovation tend towards the mythical or anecdotal. The history of innovation is conveyed in stories – many taking place in garages – or self-selected case studies. Because of this, the principles of innovation are often taken in isolation or the exciting or unusual part of the story is taken as the lesson. I hope to avoid that. I hope it won’t make it boring for you.