Can innovation be claimed?

“This is our latest innovation”
“We’re innovating once again”
“Innovation is at the heart of everything we do”

This probably sounds familiar.

We hear and read those everywhere. Almost up to a certain point where it becomes meaningless — so overused, that we don’t pay much attention anymore.

That’s why real innovative companies don’t even talk about innovation. They know the word is much more powerful when coming from the mouth of clients, partners or press.

Innovation is not just building new and shiny things. That would be easy — we can all imagine things that have never been done before. And most of the time, they’ve never been done for very good reasons. Innovation is the result of not just the new and shiny, but also the effective and useful.

And effective and useful, ultimately, can only be judged by others. Some sort of external validation. Then, only if truly new, effective and useful beyond what currently exists can it be considered as innovative.

Innovation is something earned, much like winning an award. It’s the result of great work being recognized by others.