Innovation: The death of a word

As someone in the business of selling Innovation Services in Asia, I have an interest in tracking news, events and thought leadership on the topic. The problem is; the willy nilly use of the word Innovation to describe any new thing is clogging my Google News and Twitter feeds with utter rubbish.

Today’s Channel News Asia Business Headline got caught my innovation feed:

S$1.2m boost to help pre-schools promote innovation culture

How wonderful! However as the article continues we discover that “innovation” is in fact simply bringing schools up to snuff on quality aspects such as leadership, staff management, curriculum, hygiene and safety. How is this Innovation? Innovation occurs when we apply new knowledge to a real problem and deliver something of value to a customer. While better quality standards within the pre-school sector in Singapore are desirable, this does not constitute innovation!

There is a serious effect of overusing the Innovation word as described by Bruce Nassbaum in Business Week.

“Innovation” died in 2008, killed off by overuse, misuse, narrowness, incrementalism and failure to evolve. It was done in by CEOs, consultants, marketeers, advertisers and business journalists who degraded and devalued the idea by conflating it with change, technology, design, globalization, trendiness, and anything “new.”