It became increasingly clear to me that the term innovation is about hindsight. I have done many 'innovative' things, but at the time I didn't think about innovation. Later, when there was a bandwagon going down the street, others, who I see in hindsight didn't have a [Censored] clue, celebrated the 'innovation,' patted me on the back, and tried to run around and get in front of the parade. I always felt humiliated inside and did my usual orthogonal turn and headed off somewhere else leaving it all to them.
To innovate is to introduce something new. To create something new is to invent, which is really to find or discover, to devise by thinking. And in that process what you think about is not an innovation; it is a solution. It is a solution that is good - the best solution. It comes from a love of work and taking risks, a drive to do it well, to see a need and understand it, and to being very, very, attentive to the details. It is the goodness of the result that gets people's attention. It is the satisfaction of their needs and wants that creates real value. It is their discovery that there is more than they thought in the world. It is making something that is great.
So when you listen to someone talk about innovation consider that you are really listing to someone with 'has been' thoughts trying to sound hip and on top of it.
Just do it right, do it well, think it out, and take the step forward. If your idea changes the way people do or perceive things and they pat you on the back for being innovative, it is time to run for you are in the presence of the 21st Century's version of the unwashed masses and their hunger to touch creativity will eat you alive.
What does all this mean to the entrepreneur? Simple, don't think about innovating; just come up with a great answer to someone's needs and sell it to them. Keep it that simple and the rest will be history. Leave the talking about innovation to the non-creative, you don't have time to be with them, you are on the way to your next great thought!
Copyright 2008 Barry W Thornton all rights reserved