What is Innovation?

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Are you missing out on your next million-dollar idea? I see it happen all the time. Why? Because that million-dollar (or hundred- or thousand-dollar) idea requires innovation—and most people don’t understand innovation. Because of that, they assume that they “just aren’t an innovative person.” All of that can change when you understand what innovation really is.

If you’re a video person, I lay it all out in the video below. If reading is more your thing, skip the video and hop straight to the transcript below!


Hey everybody, Bill Stainton here with Turning Creativity into Money™, and today I want to answer the question once and for all: what is innovation? We hear the word all the time, and we’re told that we need to do it! Right? “You need to innovate! You need to think out of the box, you need to be creative, you need to innovate, innovate, innovate! Especially in today’s ever changing, ever more competitive world, you need to innovate!” Well, turns out that’s actually true—but if you don’t really understand what innovation is,
it’s not really helpful advice, is it?

So what is innovation?

Well, I define innovation just like this. To me innovation is Turning Creativity into Money™. See, innovation and creativity are not the same thing. They’re related; creativity is a part of innovation. Creativity is coming up with the ideas; innovation is putting the ideas to use. Innovation is applied creativity, and i’ll give you an example.

For 15 years—some of you know this—for 15 years I was the executive producer of the longest-running and highest-rated local comedy tv show in the United States. It was called Almost Live! We produced it here in Seattle, and as the executive producer, myself and my team had to be innovative every single week. We had to, we had to invent a brand new show every single week. And when people asked me what my job really was, like, what does the producer really do—that’s when i first came up with the phrase, “What I really do is I turn creativity into money.”

You can see I had an amazing, creative team around me—some of the best comedy writers I’ve ever known worked for me and with me—and their job was to come up with the creative ideas. But here’s the thing: if I couldn’t turn those creative ideas into a show that advertisers would be willing to spend money on, we’d be out of business in a week. I had to find a way to turn that creativity into money. That’s what innovation is.

You know, I say somewhat jokingly, somewhat flippantly, but also somewhat truthfully, “Creativity is worthless; innovation is priceless.” Creative ideas are easy to come up with, and I’m more than happy to show you lots of ways that. You and your team can come up with great creative ideas, but then the trick is, “How do we figure out which of those creative ideas are the best ones to act on, and then how do we actually implement them?”

That’s when you start creating something of value !

Innovation is taking creativity and turning it into something of value, Turning Creativity into Money™. If you want help with that, let’s get in touch, let’s have a conversation. In the meantime, I’m Bill Stainton—I’ll see you next time where I help you Turn your Creativity into Money™!


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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