What is Innovation?

The question is asked by everyone (including myself) What is Innovation? It sounds like a 'cool' word but what does it really mean. It's a word that big business use to describe new things and corporate success but do they know what being innovative is? We will answer this broad question by giving a simple definition and then expanding how it is meant in modern society.

Looking at a few dictionary's first the best definition we could find was...

"Something new or different introduced."

"Introducing new things or methods."

The truth is that its that simple at its most basic. Innovation means change and new ideas to do old things or pioneer something new and exciting. This is obviously not a new concept or we wouldn't have the society's we do today, however it was intensified over the last 100 years greatly as new technology has arrived.

There have been some great recent examples of using this skill of innovation which include the computer company Apple and others like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter etc. These company's have offered us new ideas and products which have hit the mark when it comes to what the modern consumer is wanting. There insight into contemporary culture has helped us to define the question what is innovation?

Their success has shown that having new ideas and taking advantage of the qualities of a post-modern society brings a new idea success. Their innovation is evident through trying new things and continual development. Whereas, in the 60's a new idea was kept and cradled, these new companies push past initial success and innovate past there success for continual relevance. This relevance has kept business alive and progressing forward.

Facebook for instance, in their recent acquisition of Instagram for $1billion showed that they were taking risks for the next stage of this online social media giant. Just to put this into perspective - the New Yorker magazine is worth less than $1Billion! it's crazy to accept this as a good business move, but if it builds facebook's company and fills a need for a modern consumer then it will be innovative success.

Extended Definition of Innovation

We certainly don't want to drag a definition on for the sake of it but if you want some more definition read through some of the points below for excellent application!

  • Pioneer a new thought and show your innovative side. I had a friend who started a business in Sydney delivering fresh food (fruit, veges etc) and although it seems pretty mundane, it caught on like wildfire. It seemed that people in the city were sick of big supermarket prices and poor quality of fresh goods and having delivery service sparked great interest. This business expanded to include a Cafe with the same emphasis on fresh whole food products and is flourishing in down-town Sydney. This was a huge leap for my friend but its pioneering nature found the right audience and consumer to be a huge success.
  • Find a new way to do something that has 'always been done that way' and you'll discover your inner-innovator. Most available innovation is just thinking outside of the box and applying new ideas and procedures. Business has done this for years, not always popular new ways but innovtion none-the-less. What could be done in a better way? more Efficiently? more cost-effective?
  • Create something no one has thought of yet. This is probably the ultimate innovation as it is the most risky and difficult. Isn't everything thought of yet? no, although i'm sure people thought that before the internet was fully utilized or before the creation of the PC. In fact people who think there is nothing new to discover, will never be fully innovative or pro-active to build a business.

We hope you've benefited from our answer to the question what is innovation. The truth is that there are many definitions and ideas about what innovation really is. We would love to have some of your feedback in the comments box below.

If you liked this definition of what is innovation then have a look at our creative innovation hub.

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