Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Death of Innovation

All our words from loose using have lost their edge.   Ernest Hemingway

I hate the word innovation  Not just a little anger and frustration, but a gut wrenching hatred.

It was once a wonderful word.  The thought of something new, better, faster, cheaper, shinier made me smile.  It was the best of science and art.  I saw the oldest, stodgiest of men transform with a childlike widening of their eyes when they saw it in action.

Innovation was beautiful.

Then it happened.  Corporate America decided that innovation shall no longer be a human virtue.  No, they pronounced, innovation shall be...a buzzword!

Moving forward, innovation shall, at the end of the day, provide a new paradigm through synergistic alignment and interface at the cutting edge of reengineering in a manner that shall optimize and leverage, so that when we hit the ground running there will be a win-win.

Henceforth, if your manager uses the phrase "Innovation is our top priority" it shall mean "I have no idea how to make money in this business but it must be the stupid, dim witted employees fault".

Innovation shall no longer be an art requiring creative thought, action, failure, expertise and perseverance.  It shall now be a process and the steps of this process shall be rigidly enforced.  And we shall use the process to punish those that fail to stay within the lines and to reward those that dot all of their i's and cross all of their t's.

Innovation is dead to me.

Not that I will never use the word again.  Rather, I will never use the word in connection with the noble pursuit of the new.

To my hundreds of friends and colleagues who love and practice the innovation of lore, let us find a more worthy could BE different after all.


  1. Innovation was taken over by US business where productivity is now god. But, I like Albert Camus' idea, "The society based on production is productive only, not creative."

  2. This struck a chord. Couldn't agree more. I do public relations for emerging growth companies, and particularly at the seed stage, you can't imagine how often this word is uttered, overused and abused. A great idea will do its job in the market. You don't have to give it a moniker.