I grinned ear-to-ear a few weeks ago when I read Diego Rodriguez’s post, “Innovating. Doing, not talking.” His realization that innovation requires “doing stuff” over talking about stuff dovetails exactly with our philosophy outlined in the Miles Finch Innovation manifesto. It’s a belief imbedded in the core of our firm.
There’s something about the word innovation that brings out the philosopher in folks. Simply utter the word and you’re likely to set off a debate about how to do it and not do it. What it is and what it isn’t. I agree with Mr. Rodriguez, the noun form invites definition.
And boy, do we love to define it! Just check out Fast Company’s latest crowd-sourcing request for definitions of innovation and see for yourself how esoteric some of the responses can be.
I came to the same conclusion as Mr. Rodriguez last year when I got fed up reading so much garbage on my Twitter feed about “how to do innovation.” Any sentence that begins with “Innovation is about …” is often followed with philosophical prose that sounds good but usually lacks grounding in academic theory or practical, real-world case examples (at least that’s been my experience).
I found myself doodling one day and as I intersected the words innovation, strategy and creativity, the latin suffix ‘ate’ presented itself. “That’s interesting,” I thought. The suffix means: to do, to make, to cause, to act upon, to do something with. Inspired by this random revelation, I committed to using the word innovate over innovation as much as humanely possible.
Innovate, the verb, inspires action over definition. And action is where magic starts.
Plus, defining innovation is somewhat useless. For any true innovator and entrepreneur knows that the answer to “how do we do it?” is ultimately, “Any way we can.”
P.S. There are plenty of other great words ending in ‘ate’ that serve to inspire action: create, originate, illuminate, elucidate, instigate, accelerate, activate, captivate, passionate… Feel free to share others!