Definitions of Innovation

Definitions of InnovationI just Googled “definitions of innovation” and came up with 5,240,000 choices. Good luck reading them. For now, here are ten I’ve gathered over the years that I like. How about you? And if you have a better one, let me know.

“Change that creates a new dimension of performance.”Peter Drucker

“The ability to deliver new value to a customer.”Jose Campos

“Adapting, altering, or adjusting that which already exists for the sake of adding value.”Anonymous

“The managed effort of an organization to develop new products, new services, or new uses for existing products or services.”Ricky W. Griffin

“The commercialization of creativity.”Anonymous

“The creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage.”Government of New Zealand

“Creating something before people know they need it.”Guy Kawasaki

“The successful exploitation of new ideas.”UK Department of Innovation and Skills

“The successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization.”Teresa Amabile

“The act of introducing something new.”The American Heritage Dictionary

Illustration from the back cover of my book

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Mitch DitkoffMitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.

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No Comments

  1. Arpita on May 10, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Innovation is all about analysing the existing processes and radically re-engineering them in order to improve the performance. Implementing JUST-IN-TIME is a great example of innovating the existing processes and reducing the wastage.

  2. Remy Arteaga on May 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

    A study of innovation was done some years back which looked at the history of “innovation definitions”. You can read about that at:

    Also, there is a very active discussion going on at LinkedIn on this topic:

  3. Braden Kelley on May 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

    My definition of innovation is “Transforming the useful seeds of invention into a solution valued above every existing alternative.”

    Because innovation is not just about coming up with something new and exciting and quite useful, but is instead about creating a solution that is so valuable that customers are willing to go through the pain of switching from their current solution to a targeted problem.


  4. Cris beswick on May 10, 2010 at 9:06 am


    This is one I use to show what modern innovation should do…

    “Innovation is the successful exploitation of an idea that adds value to the customer and commercial return for the creator”

    All the best
    Cris Beswick
    Entrepreneur, Speaker, Adviser & Thought Leader on Innovation…
    Author of ‘The Road to Innovation’

  5. Mitch Ditkoff on May 10, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Cris: Great! Love it! Clear and clean. Yours is the first one I’ve read that includes “commercial return for the creator.” Nice touch.

  6. MatNoq on May 11, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Innovation: Ideas that make money…

  7. ROBERT BINDER on May 11, 2010 at 10:42 am

    How about “Innovation is an invention with commercial use”.
    This is the way we are thinking about it in Brazil.
    Best regards
    Robert Binder
    Seed capital fund manager

  8. Mitch Ditkoff on May 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    MatNoq. Not sure I would go with “ideas that make money.” Hmmm. I get an idea to hold up a bank that doesn’t have good security. I make money. Is that innovation or just armed robbery? I am a bank and I have an idea to put in some fine print in the credit card agreement that ends up costing users $49 every time they are a day late on a payment. Innovation or usury?

  9. Dan on May 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Obviously information,knowledge, and innovation are related. As such, they should be defined in terms of each other. We use an algorithm which is actually a differential equation that may be stated as:

    Information is facts and data
    Knowledges is proportional to the rate of change of knowledge with respect to time
    Innovation is proportional to the rate of change of knowledge with respect to time.

    i : k di/dt : I dk/dt

    As such, the fact of innovation can be predicted and therefore capitalized and securitized. Try that with any other def.

  10. Prashant on June 3, 2010 at 5:19 am

    My definition More of Good Things ( Benefits) & Less of bad things ( cost & harm) both for business & customer alike.



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