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Definition of Innovation

Updated on January 24, 2013

Profit from Princess's Words: Innovate

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Could you be innovating the wrong way and not even know it?

If you don’t know what the real definition of innovation is then you could actually be doing it wrong.

Let’s face it; in business things change and so do definitions.

Take the meaning of fans for instance. A fan was usually something celebrities, athletes or famous people had; now businesses have them.

Spam used to be lunch now we find it in our email.

Today when a CEO talks about streams in the boardroom directors might wonder whether or not she is talking about revenue streams or audio/video streams.

Words can have different meanings.

That's why being specific is terrific.

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So, what is the definition of innovation?

Innovation is not invention although a lot of people believe it is.

Inventions are physical; innovations are spiritual.

Might sound silly however I invite you to stay with me. I’m on to something and I’d hate to lose you in the spirit of ridiculousness and have you lose out on the opportunity to learn specifically what innovation is and what it is not.

Create a widget, gadget or process that is original, useful and helpful you have an invention.

Create a way for people to use or see a widget, gadget or process in a new or different way then you’ve innovated something.

Inventions can make your life better, whereas innovation is the secret sauce of invention and makes living sweeter.

The Cry of Innovation

We don't know better, although we yearn for it, until we experience it. A wise innovator hears the cries and answers.
We don't know better, although we yearn for it, until we experience it. A wise innovator hears the cries and answers. | Source

The Smile of Innovation At Work

Once we experience what we feel is better, our behavior changes, the way we do things change, our lives become more beautiful to us.
Once we experience what we feel is better, our behavior changes, the way we do things change, our lives become more beautiful to us. | Source

The Evolution of the Washing Machine

Take for instance the electric washing machine. When it was invented it was and still is the “Tada” of the day.Finally, people did not have to wash their clothes by hand anymore. Imagine how many backs were saved.

The invention of the electric washing machine was an answer to many prayer, but it was not a religion yet. It made life sweet, but not really sweeter. The first electric washing machine was big, loud and obnoxious.

How could anyone wash clothes, watch soap operas or even talk on the phone with such a loud thing shaking in the background?

Well they couldn’t.


Some people didn’t even realize they were annoyed. Others were just grateful that they didn’t have to haul their selves outside to wash clothes with a bucket, water and soap.

People lucky enough to have a hand washing machine in their homes were equally as happy to have their hands free from grimy water.

Enjoying the Sweet Sound of Innovation

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Innovation Makes People Happier

Well, all of these people were happy until the process of washing clothes was innovated.

Innovation is the “Ha”

Innovators expanded the invention and the washing machine became quieter, sleeker and easier to maintain.

Innovation spreads.

When people got wind of the quieter, more efficient washing machine, they wanted one.

Innovation is felt.

People felt more at ease, happier and productive when they used the easier to operate washing machine.

An invention is seen whereas an innovation is felt.

It’s a proven fact an invention is an original product or process. Inventions are contrived, concocted, created.

Inventions are original, useful and helpful.

Innovation introduces you to a way….. of doing something new, using a new or different widget or gadget differently…

Innovation is a religion.

It’s a belief system.

It’s a way a culture behaves.

It’s a world view.

It’s the preferred choice.

Doing laundry or washing clothes used to be an arduous task, but innovation changed that.

People believe that washing one’s clothes should be effortless. It should not intrude upon pleasurable activities like sleeping, watching TV and talking.

If your innovation does not make people feel, think or act differently then you are innovating the wrong way.

Your innovation must change a belief, behavior or expectation about a product or service.

If your innovation doesn’t, then you simply have an invention.

Innovation is the “ha” not the “tada.”

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