My friend Alice shared that she conducted a talk and shared that they were using so-and-so tool in their project, whereas typically projects use this other so-and-so tool. That seemed to have wowed her audience and they said that could be considered as an innovation. Alice and I agreed that it felt like it wasn’t. Unless you’d call it an innovation if I suggested to use Google Docs as opposed to Microsoft Office.
But isn’t innovation simply a new idea, device or method? Something new that will make things easier for yourself and others? Yes and yes. But taking that definition kind of opens the floodgates where anything new could be taken as innovation — which shouldn’t be the case because not every new thing can be regarded as truly innovative.
In googling what is not innovation in the hopes of getting more insights on this, I found this whose points I do understand:
First, an improvement that only meets the market standard or reacts to innovation that your competitors have already introduced into the market is NOT innovation. It’s playing catch-up.
Second, introducing an improvement that does not significantly differentiate you from your competitors is NOT innovation. It’s simply just an improvement—evolutionary, not revolutionary.
And finally, introducing improvement that may give you a competitive advantage but also can be easily copied by your competitors is NOT innovation. It’s just a temporary advantage.
…Here’s the takeaway: It’s easy to confuse improvement with innovation. But only innovation creates a unique outcome that, despite the superior financial returns resulting from the action, competitors are either unwilling or unable to match.
Now, innovation or not, I still believe in looking for and sharing things that helps us make things easier for ourselves and others. Whatever ideas we put onto the table and help realize, just push for it if it holds the promise of making things better. And you can just let other people decide if it’s an innovation or not.