As you may have noticed we are getting more open about our history and commitment to ‘open innovation’. Now, ‘open innovation’ is not yet our day job, because our day job has been about getting the company positioned for growth, both operationally AND culturally. However, we will make visible progress this year.
So why do we keep using the word ‘ingenious’ rather than ‘innovative’?
OK, so our vision is of ‘putting ingenuity back to work’. I was travelling on the London tube (metro) system when we were thinking through our strategy and I noticed the posters of some hi tech company (I forget which) showing off a tag line of great limpness, but talking about innovation. And of course, most of us hi tech companies have tag lines, mottos or whatever talking about ‘innovation’, but they often say it in a way that I don’t think they mean. The marketing department may mean it. Some of the developers or scientists may mean it. But the company does not, its just a by product of what they do.
We did not want to be ‘in the crowd’. In the dictionary, the word ‘innovate’ means bringing in something new or for the first time, in particular, a product or process, i.e. it’s more about ‘stuff’. Ingenious, however, is more about people and is characterised by originality, cleverness, resourcefulness – all human concepts.
Ask yourself, if you got stuck in the artic, would you want to be with someone resourceful, clever and original, or with someone ‘innovative’?
At my company we believe ingenuity is about the people, and if we can be more ingenious, the ‘innovation’ will follow naturally.
‘Open Innovation’ speaks well to our vision because of the focus on human trust and collaboration. For us, what innovation is about therefore is about people and ingenuity. I’d like to be known as ingenious ahead of ‘innovative’ as it’s just got a lot more depth and potential as a concept – and makes us distinctive as a result.