Francisco González Bree, Academic Director for the Master of Business Innovation (MBI) course at the University of Deusto in Spain says, “The term ‘innovation’ is losing its genuine meaning because many companies are using it to convey change when the progress they are describing is no more than ordinary.” He is right.
Just as the government describes every piece of spending as an ‘investment’ so bosses talk about every change as an ‘innovation.’ We need a new word to differentiate radical innovation, finding an entirely new way to do things, from incremental innovation, which is really just improvement.
How about ‘radovation’ and ‘incrovation’? Most managers and most business are good at incrovation – making improvements in current products, services, processes and methods. Most managers and most businesses are poor at radovation – implementing a completely fresh and challenging idea. Radical innovation is risky and can often threaten existing products and vested interests. It often fails leading to blame and recriminations. Yet the successful radovations are the real game changers.
Incidentally the MBI programme at Deusto which is run in conjunction with the Judge Business School in Cambridge looks a good alternative to a traditional MBA.
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Paul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, both published by Kogan-Page.