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I hate Innovation

Like Christianity or Communism, the idea of innovation started off so pure, like love thy neighbor, and everyone should be treated the same. Then “innovation” became a tool for evil people to carry out selfish desires. Yet to say I hate it makes me sound like the anti-Christ.

What do you think of when you hear the word innovation? I see computers flying through space with blinking lights making a whooshhh sound then a plinnk. A woman’s voice declares, “Innovation… connecting you to the future.”

You know who put this image in my head? I don’t. It was a countless amount of big faceless corporations mind-raping me. A big, homogenous beige computer from the 90’s raping my brain.

The word “innovation” has been reduced to a corporate buzzword like synergy (let’s not even get started on synergy). It now stands for nothing. I really don’t even know what it means. Doesn’t it just mean invention? The words even sound the same.

Dictionary.com says it means “something new or different introduced.” Well that sounds great. Something new or different, fresh. Then isn’t it ironic that I think of the complete opposite? The power of marketing is amazing. Maybe we can start a campaign to revitalize this term.

Also what is interesting is when I hear “innovative.” I don’t think of the same thing. I think of art directors standing in galleries with their hands resting on their chins. I think of modern dance. I think of daring movies. Innovation as a noun, bad. Innovative as an adjective, good.

Here are some terrible, terrible examples of innovation found simply on Google Images. Really look at these images in all of their image stock glory. What are they really showing us? What the hell does a fish in a lightbulb mean? Google “innovation” for yourself and see if you can top my examples in terms of extreme shitiness.

8 thoughts on “I hate Innovation

  1. I don’t even know where to start with innovation because it’s so pervasive and a garbage can term. I read an article that says innovation becomes trendy in corporations every six years, meaning, I guess, that just as soon as they get over it, someone else working in the same place but in a different building becomes excited about it again, haha. At a corporation I am familiar with which shall remain nameless, I know there are innovation posses and innovation councils, innovation blitzes and innovation cake. Just kidding, there’s no cake, budget cuts. It doesn’t even necessarily have to mean invention. I think you’re being nice here you anti-Christ, you. It can refer to basic incremental change (yippee! innovation, we changed how our email looks!) or even fixing something that’s horribly broken so that it works how it’s supposed to. Sigh.

    1. haha, poor beliza.

      Maybe I was being too nice. After I posted I thought maybe I should get into the nitty gritty of corporations and innovation. Such as the fact that corporations say they want to be innovative and take risks but they don’t, they just want money. They want to take risk-free risks which surprisingly is not possible.

      I listened to a great lecture at AIGA’s Pivot Conference by Hilary Austen called “How Designers Can Help Businesses.” (Maybe I should have made this post longer but I wanted it maybe more open ended) She had these 7 “Deadly Certainties” that are worth mentioning, impossible things that companies want but do not exist.

      1. Unambiguous numbers
      2. A clearly better choice
      3. An unwavering strategy
      4. Risk free new ideas
      5. No fail best practice
      6. Simple action now
      7. Alignment/agreement

      Basically she says companies need to take risks to truly be innovative. Problem is, companies want to see an automatic return on every dollar they shell out so they don’t want to invest in an idea unless it is “a clearly better choice.”

      The rest of her lecture was harder to wrap my head around, she went onto describe different problem types, single answer, enigmatic, and open ended. She says we should start with the single answer and then go to the open ended instead of the other way around, which artists are good at. Like I said, I didn’t completely understand it. Anyways I am rambling, but this is what I was thinking of adding in this post.

  2. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I’ve used image 3B there in your grid in some PPT 🙂

    1. Haha well that is the least shitty

  3. If I defined innovation using a formula based solely on your collections of images this is what I would get: innovation = blue lightbulbs.

    1. Yes, it is funny that blue is such a prevalent color. What about blue says innovation?

      1. I actually don’t think of blue when I think innovation, but apparently the rest of the world does.

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