At Innovation 2004, all the members are busy contributing to the wiki put up by Joyce Wycoff. In the process, we are also finding great stuff to put on our blogs! Here is Paul Schumann on “Defining Innovation” in a post on his Innovation RoadMap Travelogue.

“Innovation, innovate, innovator, innovant, innovative, innovatory, renovate, novation, these are but a few forms of the central concept within innovation – nova. Nova is Latin but it originates from the Indo-European neuos. Neuos meant new or now. Nova was a word that referred to “a star that bursts upon the sight” according to Shipley in The Origins of English Words. In Origins, Partridge uses the phrase, “a temporarily new star”. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary goes one step further in defining nova – “A star that suddenly becomes thousands of times brighter and then gradually fades to its original intensity.” This is of course true for innovations as well. Innovations have a life cycle.

Innovation has a prefix and a suffix. The prefix in- has its roots in the Indo-European word en. En meant in, within or into. My guess is that its use in innovation implies that what is shining comes from within. The suffix -ion is used to note action or condition. This may be the root of one of the confusions about the use of the word innovation. It refers to both result and the result’s way of becoming, how it came into existence.”

(For the comlplete post: Innovation RoadMap Travelogue by Paul Schumann here).


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