What Does Innovation Actually Mean?

Innovation is certainly one of those buzz words we hear a lot in education at the moment.  We talk about 21 century learning and innovation along with entrepreneurial and creative but what do we actually mean by these words?

For me it used to mean something new.  But like creativity being more than art, innovation is so much more.  But how important is it for us to all have the same understanding of the language we use?  Is it more about the doing or the words we use to explain it.  Does it matter if innovation has a different meaning for me than for you?

Recently on a study tour to Copenhagen I was talking to a vocational teacher about the students introduction to the vocational college through an innovation camp.  The students explained it as a camp to learn to “nut crack,” or to problem solve collaboratively.  Benny sees innovation as improving the workplace rather than inventions.  The new in innovation is building on something else, rather than something new altogether.

I have recently read “And what do YOU mean by learning?” by Seymour Sarason.  He talks about how many have difficulty defining what learning actually means and I am sure if I was to ask everyone reading this blog it would have a different meaning to each of us.  But he also talks of difficulty of making educational reform when there is no clear definition to learning.

I am interested to know what innovation means to you.  Do you think innovation is understood by everyone, and does it matter if we have different understandings of innovation?