Participate in a strategy session at just about any leading product-driven organization today and you’ll be hard pressed not to be inundated with the word innovation.

Understandably so – innovation is a powerful word, connoting growth, inspiration and market influence. However, as the word moves more toward becoming a catchall used to articulate product goals, is the (over)usage of innovation diminishing the actual meaning?

Innovation occurs when an invention, or an improved version of an invention, demonstrates a proven worth to the market. Before setting out on an unwavering quest to innovate, organizations should pause to define and outline product strategies that uniquely suit their path to success. The power of the word innovate – and invent, iterate and interrupt – is impossible to dispute but what about actual meaning of these words? More importantly, what do they mean to your business?

Let’s start with some basic definitions:

  • Invent: Creating something purely new
  • Iterate: Improving upon your invention for better usage
  • Interrupt (Disrupt): Doing things in a new way so much as to make the old things obsolete

Many organizations develop innovation strategies without really knowing why they’re setting goals. Ask yourself these questions before setting out to “innovate”:

  • Are you inventing something new?
  • Are you improving the existing product?
  • How long will the iteration last before the market will need another?
  • Are you seeking to interrupt an industry with innovation?

This blog series will explore and demystify these three mighty “I” words – invent, iterate and interrupt – as part of the larger goal of innovation. Bringing the “3 I’s” to life from simply overused marketing terms, I’ll examine the revolutionary impact of organizations that clearly, steadfastly defined their product goals and enjoyed the monumental benefits. Along the way, I hope you’ll share your product development experience with our readers in the comments section, as we ask the controversial question, “Should we be innovating?”  Stay tuned for my next post on the first “I” in the series: Invent.

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