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Who is in Charge of Innovation?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We humans are creatures of habit and advocates of order. Our bodies are symmetrical, and our eyes enjoy seeing things in pairs and patterns. We like experiences that we can rationalize and define.

Hence, we do the ironic — try to create a process for innovation.

A conversation we heard involved investors and researchers talking about who the best people were to lead innovation. The answers were unsatisfyingly simple — the young startup upstart, or the seasoned professional looking to change their ways.

Please, enough with the clichés.

The point about innovation is that it just happens. Someone sees a new way to solve a problem, or a problem that needs to be solved. They solve it.

The fun part for marketing and advertising is that sometimes people need a little influence to see that they've been living with a problem they had no idea they had.

Being in and teaching marketing and advertising, we know that definitions, "best practices," and SOPs all have their place.

But if we are trying to create procedures in which innovation is simply a formality, then we are seriously misled.

This is an advertising blog, right? What in the world does this matter? Because lazy colleagues would use the words "innovative, improved, revolutionary" instead of talking about how they can help the customer in everyday life. 

Not every little improvement is innovation. And that's okay. Let's save those words and praises for those products and leaders who really do something special.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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