What do we mean by innovative?

My primary job is to develop content that properly addresses the challenges you face with the technologies and solutions that are available in the industry, or sometimes on the horizon. That takes a lot of investigation, some dead ends and countless hours learning about new technology trends that are emerging that could be the next big thing. It is basically like finding a needle in a haystack, except the haystack keeps getting moved to different locations.

That is what happens in a dynamic and technology-driven industry like equipment engineering. Continual improvement is the mantra, so staying still is not an option. To an innovator, stagnancy is death.

But, there is also something to be said for some consistency. Change should not be made just for the sake of change. Each tweak and update to a product should be made for a reason, and should be done as effectively and efficiently as possible. Consistency helps to formulate processes and find inefficiencies while providing information for measuring performance and estimating production and delivery times.

There must be a balance struck between innovation and consistency. The time and resources required for blank-slate design cannot be found every time a new vehicle is being developed. And, how would a company form a dedicated customer base if each new product it released to the market was wildly different from the last? How does a customer form loyalty, brand recognition and trust if there are no commonalities to latch on to?

On the other hand, one should be careful in the use of the word "innovation" in this fast-paced technology-savvy world in which we now live. It raises the question of "What is innovation?" How would you define it? Is this term subjective, or can it be quantified? More importantly, should it be quantified to avoid misuse of the word?

While this may seem like a slew of rhetorical questions, I would like to know what you think of the matter.

My world is shrouded in marketing copy that constantly reminds me that this product is the best in the industry and the most innovative. If the term "innovation" is subjective, then they can all be right. If not, parameters need to be set to allow people to sift through the incorrect uses to find the real innovators.

Send me an email at editor@oemoffhighway.com and give me your input as to what innovation means to you, as well as any other insights you see fit.

Latest