These days, you can’t seem to escape the buzzword ‘innovation’. It is the key to the future, it is crucial for business success, it is indispensible to remain competitive etc etc. Now you hear chefs talk about being innovative. Serving innovative dishes, coming up with innovative experiences. But what does it mean exactly to be innovative?
In the most basic manner, according to the good old Oxford dictionary (now online), to innovate means “to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”. The core concept of innovation has to do with to renewal or to change, to do things differently, often to do with application—this is not the same as to invent, which is “to create or design something that has not existed before”.
As Amy J. Radin pointed out in her book The Change Maker’s Playbook: How to Seek, Seed and Scale Innovation in Any Company, Heinz introduced the inverted ketchup bottle as a solution to tackled the hassle of getting that last bit of ketchup out of the standard bottles. For that solution, they applied a packaging design that was first invented for shampoo. So yes, innovation could be as simple as taking what another industry is doing and applying it to one’s product or dish, for that matter (remember broths brewed and served in coffee siphons?).
Innovation also has a lot to do with context. As Ray Winger and Gavin Wall highli