Horace Dediu has an absolutely essential post on the taxonomy of innovation:
The definition of innovation is easy to find but it’s one thing to read the definition and another to understand its meaning. Rather than defining it again, I propose using a simple taxonomy of related activities that put it in context.
Novelty: Something new
Creation: Something new and valuable
Invention: Something new, having potential value through utility
Innovation: Something new and uniquely useful
There’s not too much more to say – I presume most of you already read the piece, and it’s one with which I completely agree.
What is interesting, though, is a little factoid I heard recently about Amazon: Amazon has well-established leadership principles that, by all accounts, permeate the culture. One of those principles is “Invent and Simplify.”
However, rumor has it that lots of senior managers have lately been using the term “Innovate and Simplify,” and, given the fact that one of Amazon’s many strengths is the unusual longevity of their senior leadership – no SVP has been there for less than seven years – it’s doubtful that’s an accident (The term is also showing up in recent job listings, although, to be fair, so is invent and simplify).
Anyhow, I’m sure the alleged Amazon change and Dediu’s article are unrelated in cause, but almost certainly aligned in thinking.