What 'Innovation' Doesn't Mean

This post originally appeared July 6, 2011 on BetterProjects.net

  • It doesn’t mean ‘Not Invented Here’
  • It doesn’t mean 'New is always better’
  • It doesn’t mean 'Build for the sake of building’
  • It doesn’t mean 'Winners finish first’
  • It isn’t a way to filter good ideas from bad ideas
  • It isn’t a way to 'think creatively’
  • It isn’t a way to 'think out of the box’
  • It isn’t a means to an end
  • It isn’t sold by any individual company
  • It isn’t the domain of any type of consultant
  • It won’t ensure you make money
  • It won’t ensure your company or project survives
  • It isn’t the birthright of a single country or culture
  • It can’t be contained within a pithy slogan or on a t-shirt
  • It isn’t housed in the private conference center across town
  • It isn’t something that is for sale on an eCommerce site
  • It isn’t something you can find on amazon.com
  • It can’t be mandated by management
  • It can’t be put on a schedule
  • It can’t be bought
  • It isn’t measured by patent filings
It really irks me, if you didn’t realize it by now, when someone tells me to 'get creative’ or 'be innovative’. It isn’t a light switch. I wasn’t being not-innovative yesterday and suddenly decided, because you told me to, to be innovative today. I’ll be doing another one of these lists, hopefully soon, about what innovation really is. Stay tuned.