Innovation is an Action, Not a Thing

I’ve been intrigued recently with innovation, particularly in government. I don’t think the nature of innovation is different in different organizations, but my concern is with how government operates (as I believe all citizens should).

The most important point is to recognize innovation is an action not a thing. Something may be innovative, but it isn’t innate in the application, the process, or the person, it’s in what created the thing and what the thing embodies. Treating innovation as an object will make today’s innovation tomorrow’s legacy product or process to be re-engineered and redesigned.

This means if we look at innovation as desirable, we have to recognize innovation is a characteristic of the organizational culture and the mindset of each individual, revealed in processes and environments that cultivate creativity to manifest interesting and important changes to the essential elements of the world in which we live.

These are often small incremental changes to the existing structures, but as anyone who’s spent time in the American Southwest can attest to, small, constant changes can have a truly profound effect on even the hardest and most unforgiving structures.

So stop looking for the most innovative thing and find the innovative spirit that can begin animating your approach to the world around you.

I’d love to hear about ways you’ve found to foster a culture of innovation in the comments below or on Twitter.

Featured image by the author in Zion National Park. License CC BY-SA 4.0 International
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