What do you understand an innovation to be?

An innovation is the new use or application of existing technology for a completely different purpose from which it was originally used or intended. This is not a definition you would find in a dictionary , it is a re-worded dictionary definition to make it more understandable. Look up the term innovation in a dictionary to get a more technical definition.

We will be looking at an example of an innovation that you would more than likely have in your pencil case or stationary kit right now. You probably haven’t even thought of as an innovation: It is Liquid Paper

Liquid Paper

In its simplest and most basic original form, Liquid Paper is white paint in a nail polish bottle. Think about it: Bette Nesmith Graham was not a very good secretary. In the days before Liquid Paper, the only way to correct a typing mistake was to either start all over again, or to erase it with a special eraser. The eraser actually didn’t do that good a job, the paper would tear easily as it was a fairly harsh eraser. Bette Nesmith Graham ended up starting again a lot.

One day, while watching painters touching up mistakes in their paint work, she had a thought: What if I applied some white paint over the mistake with a small brush, then I could cover up my typing mistakes.

From there Liquid Paper was born.

These days, through research and development, we have a very different product in the bottle from the original white paint. We also have different methods of application, but the original little bottle still exists and Bette Nesmith Graham became a very rich secretary. The company was sold to Gillette for 47.5 million dollars in 1979. When she died in 1980 her son Mike inherited half her fortune, the remainder went to foundations she established for women’s welfare and to promote the arts. Mike Nesmith was a member of the band The Monkees.

Now that you have a fairly simple idea of what an innovation is, let’s look at a few more innovations via their web sites. When looking at these sites, consider the features that have made these products or systems innovative.

Dyson vacuum cleaners (external website)
Cochlear implant (external website)
The AIBO (external website)
Olympic Superbike (external website)

Click here for further innovation examples