Ask our team: What does innovation mean to you?
In celebration of being named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023, we decided to dig into what is at the core of innovation to some of our team members.
Below you’ll find the responses from some of our team when they were asked candidly what innovation means to them.
Yoana Dvorzsak, Managing Director, Product and Component Development: “Innovation is being the first to market with an idea or solution that fills a gap in the space/market that has been open forever.”
Dr. Harry Sarkas, PhD. Chief Scientific Officer: “Invention can be thought of as ideation/conception with reduction to practice. My definition is actually in line with that of the US Patent Office which doesn’t even require reduction to practice as long as one can describe how to reduce the novel idea to practice. Innovation, to me, is something entirely different.
Innovation is often described as taking new or existing ideas/inventions and bringing them to the market on the basis of value. I believe that the creation of something having intrinsic value is only the beginning. Innovation can be further characterized by its impact. True innovation should have a positive impact on the consumer in a way that enhances the consumer’s life. Delivering this should also have a positive impact on the market as a whole. The impact doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) stop there. That positive impact could be extended “backward”, affecting the people that design, market, and produce the innovation to enhance their lives as well through bringing the innovation to the marketplace. Finally, the impact should be extended in a broader sense to the environment as well. In a holistic sense, an innovation should positively impact all that it touches.”
Emma Harper, Director, Corporate Strategy and Mission: “I think of innovation as an ongoing creative process that challenges normalcy and creates a new perspective on an idea, altering how something in our world is done. I think of invention as a moment-in-time creation that can be either purposeful or a happy accident, where its fate is left up to what the market or user does with what has been created, whereas innovation is necessarily purpose-driven and impactful – something that aims to and succeeds moving us forward and improving life, and by nature of that, it shifts an industry along the way.”
Colby Williamson, Director, Supply Chain: “Here are my thoughts on innovation: As a Supply Chain Director, I believe that innovation is key to improving our operations and staying ahead of the competition. By embracing new technologies and processes, we can streamline our supply chain and increase efficiency, ultimately reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction. Innovation also allows us to anticipate and respond to changing market conditions and customer demands more quickly, helping us stay agile and adaptable in an ever-evolving industry.”
Glenn Judd, VP Engineering: “For me, innovation is the practical implementation of novel ideas or existing ideas in novel ways that result in an improved condition.”
Ed Sieracki, VP Brand Partnerships: “For me, innovation is meeting an unmet need (whether known or unknown) in a novel way. It can include products and processes of course, but can also be a way of thinking and collaborating internally or with our customers.”
Susan Barrett, Director, Human Resources: “Innovation happens in an environment that supports creativity and welcomes feedback, which increases employee engagement in developing strategies to meet the Company’s needs.”
Mohammad Ali, Director, QA & Regulatory Compliance: “My 2 cents is that innovation simply means a systematic approach or a thinking process that results in “New Ways of Doing Things.” This may produce the Same or Better results. Not to be confused with invention, if used in an Operations context, innovation can drive process improvements based on critical thinking and collaborative ideas, including both small or big in nature.”
Benjamin Babel, Corporate Controller: “Innovation means to me challenging the current process or product, looking for ways to make it better or simpler.”