In the movie The Princess Bride one character, Vizzini, repeatedly uses the word “inconceivable” to describe situations that are unfolding before his eyes, which leads another character, Inigo Montoya, to exclaim, “ You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I often feel the same way when I hear others use the word innovation.  It is often used to describe complex interactive systems that are often shrouded in mystery and as such are less useful than they could be.

Well last week I heard a definition that rang clear and true. Innovation was defined as “Creating value through new ideas.”

I like this definition because it is simple and actionable. It is simple because it only takes 5 easy to understand words to describe.  It is actionable because virtually everyone in organizations creates value through their work and most are capable of acquiring and applying new ideas.

Working at the WMEP I especially like this definition because creating value through new ideas is at the core of what we do.  Over our history we have helped create over $2.7 billion in value for Wisconsin Manufacturers.  We have achieved this by continually searching out, creating, refining and sharing approaches that result in value creation for the clients with whom we work.

Our upcoming Manufacturing Matters! Conference on February 26th at the Hyatt in Milwaukee (www.manufacturingmatters.org) features many ideas that create value for manufacturers in areas such as emerging technologies, growth, talent management, operations and C-suite.  We hope you can join us and find one, two, or three new ideas to bring back to your organizations to create value.  If you do, you can call it innovation and we will all know what you are talking about. ​

John Stampen, Director of Marketing, WMEP