We live in a time when everything is billed as being innovative but, other than ground breaking research is anything truly innovative?
If innovation is the process of change and the introduction of something new, innovation is definitely everywhere and has been taking place rapidly over recent years. But, if when communicators and writers use innovation they are trying to emphasise a significant step change or ground breaking, new invention it is a little over used.
I used to work with an innovation team, they managed projects for new technology which really was brand new. I have also worked on projects where innovation was the buzz word thrown in to make something sound more fantastic than it was.
When it comes to communication, I would argue that nothing is innovative. Most of the time, ‘innovative communication’ has been borrowed and adapted from elsewhere. A prime example is social media and the use of smart phones.
Over the past 10 years there has been an influx of new distribution and engagement channels, each heralded as ground breaking for the communications industry.
The new systems have required new skills to be developed and built, and a new, more dynamic way of thinking from the people who manage the flow of information. They have allowed for a brand-new specialist industry to develop, complete with wizards to work the magic and at first, the innovative technology led to innovations in how we communicate with each other and the businesses we interact with.
As the ‘new’ became mainstream the rules of engagement changed for communications professionals, a news cycle is no longer measured in days and weeks but hours in some cases. Public relations professionals and journalists no longer have control of what becomes a story. But, as the new channels settle, they become less ground breaking and more like any other channel to disseminate information, albeit much quicker to use, more immediately available to the world and without geographic boundaries.
Using the idea of ‘just another channel’ means that communicators can see the bigger picture, put the pieces together and find the best routes to their audiences but the methods of communication become less innovative. The way that we think about and use all of the methods collectively can now supply the innovation – innovating the experience of the audience.