When I’m out on the road speaking to audiences about innovation, it is reinforced again and again that innovation has become a buzzword, and much in the same way that people struggle to define love – there is no commonly accepted definition for innovation. Try asking someone:
“What is love?”
And then see if their definition matches your own. Chances are it will be completely different. Then ask them:
“What is innovation?”
Try this with a group of people and then the fun really begins.
In many cultures people talk about a language of love, mostly because the subject baffles most of us and we are always failing to truly communicate our love to the special people in our lives. And, if you think about it, often the most successful love language is non-verbal. I’m afraid this won’t work for innovation.
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Yeah for this post! So often the need for ‘defining’ is not taken seriously. And it CAN easily be one of the most boring and non-energy giving processes ever.
Still, I agree 100% with the difference it makes later on.
As an alternative to the question ‘what is innovation’, I suggest trying ‘and what kind of innovation is that innovation?’.*
Even better, try creating a metaphor for how your organisation innovates at its best: ‘when this organisation innovates at its best, that’s like what?’ *
This way, the process itself is innovative as well as informative. And you will get a unique lingo for innovation in the organisation.
Try it out, it works like a charm.
* questions are part of Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling, developed by David Grove and later by Penny Tompkins and James Lawley