This is what ‘innovation’ means to professionals who do it for a living

The term has risen to buzzword status in the last few years. Philly’s article focused on corporate innovation and how professionals across the region, especially those tasked in their day-to-day with innovating their institutions, look at the term. What does it mean to them?

Chris Wink, CEO outlined’s definition: “We define innovation as the process for developing new solutions for old problems.”

Marion Leary, director of innovation at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, said, “Innovation is not just technology or widgets, but it also includes the methodologies we use to solve problems, the products, processes and systems we create and how we communicate information to our patients, their families, and communities at large.”

Bob Cooper, the chief innovation officer at J.W. Pepper, said, “There are a lot of different ways to think about innovation, but ultimately, your innovation has to resonate with your company’s purpose. It’s like driving, you have to look ahead, but you should also be using that peripheral vision to keep an eye on what’s behind you.”

Patrick Hayakawa, the VP of innovation and emerging technologies at the Chester County Economic Development Council,  said it can be easier to define what innovation is not: when folks point at the next city over and say “we need to be innovative like that.” He pointed out, “If you’re always looking over someone’s shoulder, by definition, you’re imitating, not innovating.”

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