“All good working definitions of innovation pair ideas with action, the spark with the fire. Innovators don’t just have their heads in the clouds. They also have their feet on the ground. 3M, one of the first companies to fully embrace innovation as the essence of its corporate brand, defines it as “New ideas – plus action or implementation – which result in an improvement, a gain, or a profit.” It is not enough to just have a good idea. Only when you act, when you implement, do you truly innovate. Ideas. Action. Implementation. Gain. Profit. All good words, of course, but there’s still one piece left out. People. That’s why I prefer the Innovation Network’s definition: “People creating value through the implementation of new ideas.” The classic 3M definition might leave you with the impression that, as a bumper sticker might put it, “Innovation Happens.” But unfortunately, there’s no spontaneous combustion in the business world. Innovation is definitely not self-starting or self-perpetuating. People make it happen through their imagination, willpower, and perseverance. And whether you are a team member, a group leader, or an executive, your only real path to innovation is through people. You can’t really do it alone.” (Kelley, 2005, p. 6)
Kelley, T. & Littman, J. (2005). The ten faces of innovation: IDEO’s strategies for beating the Devil’s advocate & driving creativity throughout your organization. New York: Currency Doubleday.