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The Definition Of Innovation Must Change

by Dan Robles on August 30, 2010

Innovation is currently defined as “A new idea that has a favorable economic outcome”.  The problem is that nobody can solve one equation with two unknowns, i.e., what’s a new idea? and what’s the economic outcome?  By this definition, you can only identify innovation after it has occurred.  So, it’s not very useful – in fact, it is a tragic definition and it must be scrapped immediately.

The trick is to identify the new ideas and direct them to the appropriate economic outcome, not the other way around as many companies and agencies try to do.  Most good ideas can’t find a place to be profitable in a silo, so they are scrapped. This is not the fault of talent or the idea, but invariably both are lost.

The existing definition of innovation is insufficient for use as a way to identify innovation in the present. There is no way to build an innovation economy upon a flawed definition and unpredictable value of innovative activity. This new interpretation will allow innovation to properly behave like a financial instrument.

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