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Great things happen when people get together

Everybody wants it, everybody knows it when they see it, but where does innovation actually stem from?

If you were to ask a hundred different businesses, individuals or industry commentators to clearly define what they believe innovation actually is, there is a strong chance that you will get a hundred different answers.

Alternatively ask a hundred consumers what they believe innovation is, what it stands for, what it represents and again you will receive the widest variety of answers imaginable. 

But the strange thing is that we all know innovation when we see or experience it. So why can’t we describe it? It is one of those almost intangible concepts that defy categorisation and classification. It’s exactly the same experience if you are asked to define ‘art’, you think you know, but you can’t put it into words. Is art a picture? a sculpture?, an installation? What about performance art? Were those pile of bricks placed in the Tate in the 1970s actually art? The answer is yes, and no. Art generates a feeling which can be positive or negative, but it’s the feeling that artists are trying to capture.

…What about performance art? Were those pile of bricks placed in the Tate in the 1970s actually art?...

In the same way companies wish to use innovation, in all its forms to generate a positive feeling in their consumers. If a consumer uses a new product, or a new service and it lifts their spirit, if it makes their life just a little bit better, then that is innovation at work. Companies will try and create the environment where innovation can take place, similar to how artists have studios, because companies want inspiration to occur and they want their employees to be willing to look on all their products and services with fresh eyes in order to move things forward. 

But where does the inspiration for innovation come from? Again in the same way an artist gets their inspiration from a wide variety of experiences or feelings, innovators are willing to look outside their normal company centric view to bring something new to the table. 

…individuals behind those seismic shifts had to be willing to believe that things could simply be better…

It was innovation that made TVs flat. It was innovation that removed buttons from mobile phones. It was innovation that removed bags from vacuum cleaners. At some point all of the individuals behind those seismic shifts had to be willing to believe that things could simply be better. That the status quo was no longer acceptable, they had a feeling that things could just be better. Armed with that feeling and supported by drive and determination they set out to move the world forward in their own small way.

Did they do this alone? No, they had a team of like-minded driven collaborators, all who added value and played an important part in the creation of the future. They tripped and fell, but between them overcame the challenges, challenges that many detractors will have said could not be overcome, to produce something that was truly innovative.

…So what is innovation? It is so many things but ultimately it is a mindset…

So what is innovation? It is so many things but ultimately it is a mindset, one that is continually looking at positive ways to improve the normality of life or to make the next great step towards future breakthroughs. It requires many things - time, money, effort and people. Get all of those together and you have a start point.

But with innovation there are no guarantees, you can put together all the pre-requisites that countless innovation guides and seminars have said are needed but it still might not happen. 

You still need inspiration, that hard to find magic ingredient that comes without warning. It can come through conversation, talking with like-minded individuals, listening to their tales of failures and success. Collectively learning and being willing to share your thoughts, views and aspirations.

And that is where WINN comes in, to foster a vibrant innovation culture through our events and programmes that celebrate our county’s historical successes. We will bring innovators together, acting as a catalyst to create connections and collaborations across the diverse business landscape of Worcestershire.

theCONVERSATION communication series authored by WINN is also available, alongside our flagship ‘WINN Wednesday’ networking events. We will be publishing a wide range of articles to provoke discussion on what innovation is and how it can propel a business forward. It will include our inCONVERSATION series of interviews with some of Worcestershire’s leading innovative thinkers and companies. Pulling this all together will be well chosen pieces of advice that we have curated to assist businesses innovate.

We encourage businesses and like-minded individuals from across the county to join theCONVERSATION on innovation. We hope that our articles will be reposted, commented on and appropriately challenged, and that we garner conversation through our social media channels. 

Above all we believe that innovation is key to our collective future and more importantly we believe that great things happen when people get together.

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WINN brings innovators together, acting as a catalyst to create connections and collaborations across the diverse business landscape of Worcestershire.

Our belief is that great things can happen when people get together.

WINN is a Worcestershire Innovation Programme formed by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire LEP

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