Innovation: In the Eye of the Beholder

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What is innovation? Webster’s defines it as the introduction of something new. That is the classic definition but it has taken on a new meaning in technology. Wikipedia defines it as ‘the application of better solutions that meet new requirements’. It is easy to confuse innovation with invention. Invention is the creation of a new idea or product, innovation the application of a new or better idea. Innovation can equally be creating a new version of an old idea or combining a few existing ideas into a new product in a way that has not been done before.

Even if you agree with those definitions of invention and innovation we will probably fail to agree on what constitutes true innovation. Technology has highlighted this in the last 10 years. Online comments on tech articles are riddled with arguments about whether or not a new product constitutes an innovation.

We all wish to be innovators in our fields. The key is to create innovation for your customers or potential customers. You don’t need to convince the entire marketplace of your innovation, just a loyal customer base. Not everyone will see your products or services as an innovation, and they don’t have to. Focus on creating new value for your current or potential customers that you are proud of, and remember that innovation is in the eye of the beholder.

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