This week I’ve been working at outlining a paper exploring the definition of innovation, and how I am applying that to the DALN booth at the upcoming CCCC’s conference in Tampa Florida. What that means, is that I’ve spent even more time than usual researching this illusive word – chasing it down like the Hobbit to my Ring-Wraith.
I’ve read that Everett Rogers defines innovation as ““an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or another unit of adoption” (2003), which gets at the idea that ‘innovation’ has very much to do with audience perception.
Erin Frost, in a journal called Computers and Composition writes about student innovation as “the key to the development and vitality of technology” as users. Yet Frost never actually defines ‘innovation’ for her audience.
This is not unusual.
This same week, A friend on Facebook shared out an article that was so entertaining, I cried a little laughing at it:
The Creepiest Things You Can Do on Faceboook
The author leads us through a photo narrative about how she ‘messes’ with some friends for her own amusement.
Some might call this ‘hacking’ Facebook = using an application for something other than its intended use.
To me, this is innovation.
Interestingly though, Ashley Feinberg, the author of the article above, does not define her work as innovative, but it is. It MUST be. I say this because she is finding a new way to get people to laugh. She is finding a new way to entertain herself and others in a way that is unexpected, and minimalistic. I’m not sure exactly what it is about innovation that, to me, intrinsically points to minimalism, but it does – today, it does.
Fascinated by this ‘innovation,’ as I see it, I tried it on a couple of my own friends – to see what would happen.
The first experiment might be my favorite:
And to my pleasant surprise, a few more people chimed in to my (hilarious) post:
This pleased me so much, I decided to try the more invasive angle Feinberg gives us, by posting my own image on a friend’s feed, with no comment. I chose a friend who is a little strange in his own rite. He snapchats me ‘work selfies’ regularly, so I knew he wouldn’t be very freaked out by my random selfies on his page.
I was right. I began with something simple, and he was not phased:
So I went in a little closer. Still unphased:
But then he responded a way I didn’t expect, though perhaps I should have. My friend, Sunfeather chose to hit me back with a similar idea, one I chose to engage (I got his permission to use these images, by the way):
In the end, I’m still processing what this kind of play means for innovation. It certainly means something, though. It means connection. It means minimalism. It means that something interesting and unexpected is happening.
THIS process of innovation-play seems to be a mix of audience and user interactivity with the technology, but it doesn’t actually change the use of tech in any way, that I can tell. Or perhaps we are on a social precipice with this sort of Facebook ‘hack’ – or perhaps we are doing nothing at all…
I like your exploration of the word “innovation”. This is a link to a market analyst who was a student of Clayton Christensen. I say that, because I think the word innovation has become more popular specifically related to Christensen’s work “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, and the link really explores what “innovation” means in light of that theoretical view. Honestly, I think that the theory does a good job of talking about something they call innovation, but it doesn’t really do a great job of talking about creativity, disconnected from market forces.
I have heard about this book, and I do really want to check it out. Thanks for the tip – now I totally will.