Innovation: the application of an idea to bring about a positive change by solving a problem.
To me, innovation consists of two elements. Firstly, to innovate one must be looking to change something for the better, which in our modern-day economy means to increase efficiency and productivity. In a social context, it can mean to bring greater satisfaction and happiness to more people with the same resources.
The word innovation often conjures thoughts of being on the cutting edge of human development, pioneering new ideas and new techniques, developing new solutions to present and future problems. Sometimes, though, it is a case of taking new ideas and using them to solve existing problems. This is the second essential element of innovation – application. If one only develops a new solution, and does not apply it, then this is more akin to invention than innovation. To innovate, one must combine a new solution with an existing problem in order bring about it’s resolution both now and in the future.
Applying a new idea to a new problem, is innovation. At the same time, applying a new idea to an old problem is innovation. It also logically follows that applying an old idea to a new problem is innovation. The common theme is the application of an idea to bring about a positive change by solving a problem.
How do others define innovation?
Check out how Wikipedia explains innovation here.
We also really like this post on ‘Idea to Value’ which can be found here.