What Is Innovation?

innovating
1. Make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.
2. Introduce something new, esp. a product.

When people and charities think about innovating they think about amazing websites, viral videos and slick apps. We see Google sending up wi-fi balloons, Coke using personalised vending machines, and Apple churning out whatever shit Apple is churning out right now.

But this misinterpretation of innovation is dangerous. It’s causing charities to spend money on stuff that isn’t likely to work for them and using big chunks of their budget on something that really requires millions to make any kind of a dent. I’m all for taking risks…but there’s a scale of risks.

One organisation’s innovation is another organisation’s history. There’s no point trying to keep up with Google, Oxfam or Steve Jobs if you haven’t even got the basics in place.

If you’ve never asked anyone for a donation before then that’s an innovation…try it.

If you don’t have a direct debit facility then that’s an innovation…get it.

If you’ve never picked up the phone to speak to a donor then that’s an innovation…do it.

Here’s to the kind-of-crazy ones that try something new…something that everyone else has already proved works.


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