» ‘Innoveracy: Misunderstanding Innovation’

Horace Dediu targets a pet peeve of mine: the inconsistent use of the word “innovative”.

…there is another form of ignorance which seems to be universal: the inability to understand the concept and role of innovation. The way this is exhibited is in the misuse of the term and the inability to discern the difference between novelty, creation, invention and innovation. The result is a failure to understand the causes of success and failure in business and hence the conditions that lead to economic growth.

Obviously, this is particularly evident with regards to Apple. Analysts lament the “death of innovation” at Apple because they haven’t shipped a startling new product lately, claiming that Samsung is the new “king of innovation”. Yet, the definition of the term when applied to Apple is delivering a product that completely redefines a market while with Samsung it’s providing the largest breadth of feature sets. These are not the same thing and if you’re an analyst who doesn’t know the difference then you’re not a very good analyst.