What is innovation?

I feel that innovation is a buzz word now a days. What is innovation? Is it a new material that lowers the cost of a product? Is a different shaped package that increases sales? What exactly is innovation?

Ironic that novelty is in the deffinition:

From webster.com

Main Entry: in·no·va·tion
Pronunciation: "i-n&-'vA-sh&n
Function: noun
1 : the introduction of something new
2 : a new idea, method, or device : NOVELTY

  • in·no·va·tion·al /-shn&l, -sh&-n&l/ adjective

    dictionary.com gives a slightly more flattering picture:


n 1: a creation (a new device or process) resulting from study and experimentation [syn: invention] 2: the creation of something in the mind [syn: invention, excogitation, conception, design] 3: the act of starting something for the first time; [syn: initiation, founding, foundation, institution, origination, creation, introduction, instauration]

I always thought of it as finding a newer and better way to solve a new or existing problem.

That can be a new material, if the problem is sales numbers that can be new packaging, but it can also be a total rethinking of a conventional way of doing things.

I agree but the word is over used. If innovation is a new solution to a problem then would every design be innovative. Every design is the solution to a problem. (every design should be the solution to a problem)

I am very intrested to see what everyone thinks about this.

Innovation is used in very specific ways in the business world.

Typically, the word is often used in the context of generatiing growth for the company by means of generation or improvement of products or services driven by resources from within the company.

Often, the word is used a euphamism for substantial leaps in exisiting product or service performance that can be documented and righfully claimed as a marketable benefit.

Can anyone give me a REAL defintion of the word?

I see innovation as seeing the improvement that has yet to be made in a particular product, or visualizing the product to solve a problem not-yet identified.

In the first situation, this can mean adapting an old idea to a new situation. Like the chandalier in the studio bullits today that used the traditional desk lamp in a new way (not the best example, but it’s been a long week).

Note also that improvement doesn’t always mean a quantative metric. It can mean that the product looks better, or is better suited to a particular user group…or sometimes it is just novel.

The product for a problem not-yet identified has been well-documented. Just read Craig Vogel’s book, Creating Breakthrough Products. Innovation is well documented there.

I’m sorry, I ddin’t realize webster was giving out FAKE definitions.

The head of a local university innovation programme defined it recently as: “The successful commercialisation of a creative idea” -for what that is worth…

His main interest is in why “creative people” so often fail to have their great ideas make it to the market -behavioural traits and all that jazz.

do want a definition that you fancy? or do you want input from others, who might help you expand your concept of the idea you inquired about?

Innovation is never having to say you’re sorry.

No I wasn’t saying no ones giving me a real Definition. I really enjoy the feed back I gotten. I just feel that Innovation has a differn’t definition depending on who you talk to. I this true? If you look it up in the webster dictionary it says “The act of introducing something new/Something newly introduced”. Does everyone feel this is the true definition. Isn’t Innovation more than that.

really? because when you asked if someone could give you the REAL definition, it pretty much came off badly.

I think this is a pretty good working meaning: from above in case you missed it:

well sorry I didn’t mean for it to come off badly. Just trying to have a professional discusion on innovation and the meaning of this word or the non meaning.

the meaning of innovation?

I’d say its the opposite of happiness…

…after all, you have to be first unhappy with a product to produce an innovative change.

Thats an interesting answer. I like it.

Can any one think of five words that describe Innovation?

Innovation is changing with the yaers and the times.

for design today, i think this should be the new definition of innovation, something we should all strive for:


sorry, just checked the link, the page is temporarily down. Hopefully it will be up soon. Please check it out. I think it will satisfy anyones (designer, business, consumer, ect.) desire for a good, real, and HELPFUL definition.

Page is down. hope its up soon

Thinking of innovation…Friday there was an interview with Les Paul on Fresh Air (go to NPR.org, click on Fresh Air in the left menu). He invented the solid body electric guitar and alot of other electronic musical instruments. Near the end of the interview he mentions that on his gravestone he thought the words, “Why me?” would be appropriate. His attitude was not that he was a genius who was so creative he developed these new designs, but rather that it was just the convergance of a person with a drive, technological development in electronics and the evolution of music that was to credit for the inventions.

Perhaps that what innovation is, not so much a creative end, but a signpost along the way. Something a society naturally creates as it evolves, not something an individual spontaneously does.