How do you define innovation? Part III

innovation box-purchased no creditIs the realization of a good idea enough, or does innovation include getting others to adopt it? Atul Gawande, MD, considers this question in a thought-provoking New Yorker piece. In that spirit, our weekly series continues with some definitions of innovation that speak to the need for care in disseminating the idea or advance. (Gawande, by the way, will be keynoting at our National Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards, September 26-27.)

Innovation is a disciplined approach by which a process or an object is improved, resulting in increased value. Central to this definition is rigorously identifying the essential stakeholders for whom the value will be generated and assuring the innovation takes into account their needs and preferences. Sometimes, these needs are implicit, and sometimes they are explicit. –Richard C. Antonelli, MD, Medical Director for Integrated Care; Medical Director Physician Relations and Outreach at Boston Children’s Hospital

Innovation is the result of asking a new question about an old problem. For example, in the case of neonatal phototherapy, the old question was “What technology do we need to cure jaundice?” The new question is “Why are we failing to treat jaundice in developing countries?” –Donna Brezinski, Boston Children’s neonatologist and developer of the Bili-Hut, Boston Children’s Hospital

Innovation is the process of discovering a new and better way of doing something and then proving to yourself and others that it really is better. It’s the proving part that is most of the work. –Pierre Dupont, PhD, Chief, Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering, Boston Children’s Hospital

Innovation is a process that starts with being observant and thoughtful in identifying problems in one’s surroundings. The next and perhaps more difficult step is having the creativity to envision a solution that breaks convention and following it through. Whether the solution succeeds or fails, the innovation is no less important, as innovators learn as much from their mistakes as they do from their victories. –Michael Docktor, MD, Attending Physician, Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Director of Clinical Mobile Solutions, Boston Children’s Hospital

How do you define innovation?