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The business of innovation

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I think it’s a good idea to not take yourself too seriously. Perhaps this can be extended into business?  I think so. I found this today:

“What’s the opposite of innovation?,” the joke begins. A tart punchline quickly follows: “Innovation consultants.”

I often think that throughout human history, innovation and creativity has just naturally happened. You need a tool, you need something to be invented, improved, made. People thought of things likes hammers, guns, rockets, cars, boats, shoes, plates, forks, baseballs, ladders and everything else.

We find ourselves in an age now, it appears, where speed is the enemy, putting pressure to constantly improve/change/manage/create. But as much as speed gives us pressure, so does the use of language centered around innovation and creativity.  There are still inventors creating useful things for society and normal people, designers who give us beautiful objects to place in our houses and apartments as well as artists who create ideas of artistic merit. And then you have innovation.

Building upon already created ideas – improving processes. Business practices have given rise to the use of consultants to take the pressure off of organizations to know how to do everything. Since no company can be an expert in all of the possible topics you need to be well versed in to survive, consultants bring their expertise in to help guide, direct and manage.

And yet, something raised in this article is what is the expertise that consultants bring with them? From where does an innovation consultant get their credentials to provide this solution to someone? What makes them the keeper of the innovation secrets?

Time? Experience? Money? Power?

Who knows.

With speed and language perpetuating what David Slocum calls a “language bubble” we’re left at the end of the day with an overload.

“This language bubble, or what we might otherwise see as an internally-referencing echo chamber, grows through a continuing series of blogposts, websites, magazine articles, and books that largely re-package the same practices, policies and behaviors as being conducive to innovation and creativity.”

It is a business, innovation. We make our living from it and do take it seriously. In serious business you also have to have serious reflection on what you are doing, where you are going, what you are saying. It is the intense reflection and thinking where your best practices are born and your guiding principles can be found.

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