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The New Definition of Innovation

by Dan Robles on February 12, 2010

Innovation is most often defined as a good idea that has a favorable economic outcome – in other words, you know it when you sell it.

I have seen Corporate executives glow red in the face shouting down top talent barking out; “It’s not innovation unless you can show me the money!”

In reality, you can’t see the money unless you can first see the innovation.

Nobody can solve one equation with two unknowns, i.e., what’s a new idea? and what’s an economic outcome? The trick is to identify the new ideas and direct them to the appropriate economic outcome, not the other way around. Many companies live in a silo where many good ideas can’t find a place to be profitable, so they are scrapped. This is not the fault of talent or the idea, but invariably both are lost.

An Innovation economy built on a platform of social media will collect the ideas existing in a community, outside the construct of the corporation, and distribute them to the most worthy economic outcome; maybe a corporation or maybe not – that’s not the point, Boss.

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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