Fast Company’s 50 most innovative companies of 2012, a pretty impressive list, but most are tech companies in one way or another, which I guess reflects the domain of Fast Company magazine.
However, I think the omission by implication of a broarder definition of “Innovation” does a disservice by making light of business model or process innovation, both of which add enormous value. Google may have started as a disruptive technology, but the reality is that it succeeded because it was a disruptive business model, as was Facebook, Alfred Sloans divisionalisation of GM in the 30’s to customer based categories, after Ford totally disrupted the horse and buggy industry, the list can go on.
Then there is this WSJ article that addresses the “what is innovation” question, and presents a view hard to argue with, but is still a narrow view.
We can present stories about disruptions that changed existing industries, or about the many ways in which the network effect, and collaboration that creates the environment for innovation, and all would by themselves be right, but wide of a basic grasp of the nature of innovation.
My view is that innovation is a process that adds value where none existed before, anything that adds real, new value to a market or opens a new market, can carry the tag “innovation”.