I define innovation as the ability to sustain a creative solution to a challenge or a problem. As I apply innovation to my work, I have started to see that there is an ethic at work as we apply innovation to the working out of our mission and various tasks.
I use the word “ethic” because I believe innovation is about the business of doing good. In the realm of technology, new innovations come from the pursuit of a better, more effective, or more efficient way of doing something. As I project innovative work to the various aspects of my own work, I offer the following ethical framework that guides my thinking and method of evaluation for innovative pursuits:
- Innovation is Collaborative: transformational ideas work across various lines of engagement and benefit from the collaborative power that comes as a result of working through tension and diversity;
- Innovation is Sustainable: creativity is fun and interesting, but true innovation is sustainable. Sustainability reflects the best use of our resources in the long term;
- Innovation is Democratic: sustainable creative ideas come as a result of real people working with real people, not someone engineering something for someone else;
- Innovation is Humanistic: addressing challenges through human ingenuity, imagination and entrepreneurialism that can come from anywhere;
- Innovation is Non-Elitist: As we work innovatively, we draw ideas from many different sources and then work with a variety of people as we incubate those ideas toward scalable innovations.
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