How do you define innovation?

by Justine Varieur on July 19, 2013

innovation out of the boxInnovation is an increasingly popular term, with wide applications across multiple fields. Yet, a clear-cut definition remains ambiguous, and becomes even more elusive and complex when applied to health care.

Seeking a better understanding, we’ve been asking thought leaders from varied perspectives in pediatric medicine or health care technology from Boston Children’s Hospital and beyond to tell us how they define innovation.

Over the next several months, in our ramp-up to our Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards, we’ll be unveiling these varied responses. Read on to see a few.

Innovation = Applied Creativity + Social Engineering

-Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD, Director, Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, Boston Children’s Hospital; Lawrence J. Henderson Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School

Innovation results from problem solving. The greatest innovations are when the problem has existed a long time, or when the problem was so far from having a solution that perhaps the problem wasn’t even thought of at all. Innovation may result from applying new tools to old problems, or putting together two things in a way no one had imagined. Often innovation arises from a tumult of confusion and desperation, and from having an open mind that allows many competing ideas to coexist and come together in new ways.

-Timothy Springer, PhD, Investigator, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital; Latham Family Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School

I personally think the word has become a cliché. If you are passionate about your job, you are likely to be innovating.

--John Brownstein, PhD, Director, Computational Epidemiology Group at Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, Boston Children’s Hospital; Co-founder of HealthMap

An innovation is a new [way of doing something, a new] process, a device, a drug, a technology that allows you to do something you could not do before and that greatly improves the way it is done or the results you receive. To be an innovation, it has to work and work well, and its impact should be significant, otherwise it is just an improvement.

-Erik Halvorsen, PhD, Executive Director, Technology & Innovation Development Office (TIDO)

How do you define innovation?

1 comment

  • Diseño Web

    Great post! thank you!

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