To innovate is to take an existing product/service and fashion it into something new. This differs from an ‘invention’, which seeks to create a new product or service. It could even be looking at something existing with new eyes, called ‘vuja de’ (the opposite of déjà vu).
This also means there is no prerogative on the ownership of innovation. History is replete of employees within an organisation who were ahead of the adoption curve and sought to innovate, only for their efforts to be stymied by existing hierarchy/ organisational politics. Blockbuster, Kodak and Xerox often come to mind – these were companies who had employees coming up with innovative and potentially disruptive products/services, only to be dismissed or ignored. The crux of this supposed conundrum is how organisations should recognise and encourage innovation before they become irrelevant in the market (or even to their customers)?