Posted on May 29 2013

Innovation: Lost in Translation

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The word “innovation” is one of the most over-used buzz words in business – so much so that it has lost its true meaning.  Many companies have deployed “innovation teams,” “innovation divisions,” and developed fancy “innovation strategies” as keys to improving business.

So, what exactly does innovation mean – and to whom?  You could go to Webster’s dictionary, Wikipedia, or to any boardroom and find different definitions; however, those meanings may be over complicating it.

Innovation is actually quite simple.  It should describe progress or improvements, and should be rooted in the overall company culture.

Innovation doesn’t need to be proven by a breakthrough idea or over-the-top new product. Make no mistake; innovation is critical to competing and surviving in today’s economy. But to be truly innovative, one must remain new and improved in the customers’ eyes, not necessarily different from its original platform. And that’s the real test.

Take Chanel for example. Founded in 1909, this is a company that over a century later has remained steadfast to its mission statement: “To be the Ultimate House of Luxury…now and forever.” Every item that walks down Chanel’s runway is classic, timeless, yet cutting edge. The quality remains predictably stellar, while the cuts, shapes, and colors add an element of surprise that keep consumers coming back for more. Yet, if you’ll notice, nowhere in its mission statement does the word “innovative” appear.

In reality, innovation is an attitude, not just a strategy written on a boardroom white board. If you truly want to be innovative in your field, it’s time to stop talking and start doing.

Xo –



**Featured image courtesy of gigaom.com


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