So often, innovation is talked about as a singular action. A mere moment in time. An isolated product, idea, or event. As Paul Sloane (author of The Innovative Leader) writes creativity is the ability to conceive something original or unusual but innovation is the ability to act on that idea and implement. For me, however, it goes deeper than that. Innovation is a lifestyle choice. Someone who innovates does not simply create one new idea and then quit. Every action they take has the ability to be something great.
This kind of sustainability of greatness begins with constant calculated thought. The ability to look at a current process or product and determine “I can make that better” is not done on a whim. Pistons fire and thoughts ignite in the mind of an innovator to determine the best possible outcome for any given situation.
Innovators do not limit themselves to only thinking of grand achievements though. Often the most innovative ideas are nothing new but rather small improvements on the existing. It’s cliche but I must bring up the example of sliced bread. It was not exactly earth shattering for one baker in Davenport, Iowa to start slicing bread into manageable pieces for customers to take home, but the world has been forever altered by his greatness.
It is through this constant process of seeking the new, original and overall wonderful that defines innovation and separates it from creativity and invention. Innovation is then a state of mind and a test of character rather than mere happenstance.