Ban Innovation

Co-Founder of Fast Company Bill Taylor advocates banning the word “Innovation” from business lexicon in his HBR Guest Post Stop Me Before I “Innovate” Again!. . He gives a very powerful example of how the word has been misused too much too often. If we keep accepting what is presented to us as Innovation literally anything we do falls under innovation. He emphasizes the need to make Innovation more authentic.

This article reminded me of an Innovation workshop that I did for the chefs of a leading hospitality brand. workshop was spread over 5 days and every day chefs delighted us with their creative dishes including a theme of chilly and chocolates. Now they said they are very innovative because everyday they create something new from the same ingredients. My argument was that the nature of your job demands that you are creative in what you do. I drew a parallel from a fashion designer who is approached by high end clientele to create something that no one else has. It is his job to churn out a unique piece for his client every time. Is he being innovative or is he being creative and bringing out a different product every time a key characteristic of his job? There are certain jobs that require one to be creative all the time and fortunately so, as most other jobs tend to be repetitive and get boring over a period of time.

To be Innovative, specially from a business perspective, one had to do things differently once in a while to jump from one level to another – to move from one orbit to another, to try out better or may be even just other ways of doing the same thing. From a commercial perspective it should directly impact your top line or bottom line non-linearly. You can define what innovation means for your organization – but it can not mean everything you do already.

Anuradha Goyal