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How to be innovative - Find the innovator in you

How to be innovative - Find the innovator in you

By Steve Busfield, Head of Media and Technology, Guardian News and Media

Innovation; a word bandied around Britain’s creative industries as a means to explain anything that breaks from the norm in an effective and impactful way. So heavily has it been used - and in many cases misappropriated - in the digital age it is in danger of being consigned to a lustreless staple of that most esoteric of lexicons; media jargon.

But what do we really mean by “innovation”? Why is the word so coveted a superlative for so many? And what do we really mean when we say someone, or something, is truly “innovative”?

In a world of almost limitless information, and by extension, limitless ideas, perhaps, innovation is the ability to distil complexity into simplicity. In an age where the means to create have become so democratised that to stand out from the ever-swelling and evermore boisterous crowd - to innovate - is that much more difficult to do.

Certainly the greatest examples of innovation in recent history – Twitter, Facebook, the iPod, iTunes and iPhone and the BBC iPlayer (winner of last year’s MediaGuardian Innovator of the Year Award) – epitomise the notion of elegant simplicity, be it through design, operability, conception or execution (in many cases all of them together).   Of course none of these were actually simple to build. Or in how they work.

In many ways innovation is an art form – like an unmade bed or a pickled shark masquerading as modern art, innovation is as much in the eye of the beholder as it is an organic reality. One man’s (or woman’s) innovation is another man’s (or woman’s) so 2008.  

So…what is “innovation”? For MediaGuardian, who run an annual awards ceremony in March called the Megas: The MediaGuardian Innovation Awards, the answer is clear: it’s you.

Innovation in all areas of media has never been stronger nor the means to innovate more widely distributed and with the Megas MediaGuardian is able to herald a new generation of talent every year, encouraging innovation in every field of communication.

The finalists and winners will represent those innovators in UK media who act as a catalyst for change and inspire others with their forward thinking and challenging approach. Are you one of these people? Do you know what the definition of “innovation” is? Can you prove it?

The awards are open to innovative work carried out across any media or a number of media. Entries can be submitted by clients, agencies or individuals from any sector (except regional and national newspapers). The closing date for entries is Friday 4 December 2009.

Categories include:

• Launch • PR • Advertising • Creative • Technology • Use of web platforms • Applications • Business model • Startup • Community engagement • Campaigning • Gadget • Independent media • MediaGuardian Innovator of the Year

To enter visit


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