Invention or Innovation?
If you sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo is that innovation? Webster defines innvoation as — 1: the introduction of something new or 2: a new idea, method, or device . So you might think selling a refrigerator to an eskimo is novel, but hardly something new; after all nearly everyone has a refrigerator. Similarly document management isn’t new or innovative. As CNN reported, (Veterans Affairs boss: ‘No veteran should have to wait for claims’) the VA is finally installing a document management system to handle their benefit claims backlog; again electronic documents are hardly new.
However, after decades of running on paper, I find it remarkable that the VA is finally adding document management. For a stodgy bureaucratic agency, that’s an earth shattering innovative breakthrough. So how can something really old like document management be a breakthrough?
My innovation definition: innovation is “the introduction of a new idea, method or device into a group of people” No matter the group size, when the old standard way of doing things changes then that’s innovation. When group think changes and a new idea is adopted, that’s innovation. The group size doesn’t matter, it can be a company, a government agency, a state, or even a country. The key point is, the group adopted something new.
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