There are many definitions for what is innovative. Often these definition use the words “new” or “inventive” or “pioneering”.
For me the definition is “fresh insightful connections”
Each of these three words; “fresh”, “insightful” and “connections” helps not only identify what is innovative but even more importantly, help one become innovative.
Insight brings humanity and people into the innovation equation. Since much innovation is eventually consumed by people, it is critical to understand peoples unstated needs by watching, listening and learning from their behavior. After all, the best innovation solves a problem, finds a better way of doing something or brings tangibility to an unspoken gap.
Fresh is a better word than new. New, really is about time and the calendar and not about a way of thinking. Fresh implies something different from the status quo. It is about a never seen or never thought about approach. Today, we see so many of the same images, and find so many of the same things all over the world, that we really wake up when we see or come across something fresh. So fresh that it fits no cliché and often requires its own language.
Connections is a about the process where the human mind takes the same letters of the alphabet but puts them together in a unique way to create something that far more compelling than the parts that went before. All the components for innovation existed. The magic was in the connecting.
Where one sees all these three in combination you often find innovation.
Google’s connected the insight that a more heavily referenced citation in a academic documents should be ranked higher than a less cited one, with how pages linked to each other and gave birth to a fresh approach to search.
The iPad connects the insight that today there is no computing device optimized for consumption and slouching (phones are for communication and walking while computers for creating and sitting), with a tactile, almost sensual approach to interacting with content to create the newest object of lust.
In category after category one sees these three factors in innovation. Fresh. Insightful. Connections.
So begin by gleaning insights. Then put all the ideas one has down on paper that help solve unmet needs driven by these insights. Now shake and stir and step away and come back and see if you can connect things in fresh ways that still resonate with the insights.
Just remember three words. Fresh. Insightful. Connections. ‘[tweetmeme source=”yourtwittername” only_single=false]’