I’m sure just about everybody who’s “in business” can be accused of playing business bingo at some point – using good old clichés like ‘hit the ground running’, ‘think outside the box’, ‘kick the tyres’ and other such phrases most people wouldn’t dream of using outside of the office environment.

Innovation, until recently, wasn’t one of those clichés. For me, more recently, it’s becoming an overused and almost empty word when used by businesses talking about themselves.

What does it mean? Well the dictionary.com definition is “something new or different introduced” – that’s fine. Don’t most businesses introduce new things all the time? Don’t we all add ‘new strings to our bows’ to coin another business bingo phrase?

Innovation, however, has become known as a word people in business seem to want to use when they want to appear to be ‘ahead of the game’ (oops, there’s another one).

The reason I consider innovation to be a dirty word is that it’s overused and usually only used to inflate a business owner or manager’s sense of self-importance [opinions are my own].

It’s great to introduce new services and products in business, of course it is, but more and more you see businesses calling themselves innovators when really they should be focusing on what they do best. Adding new products and services should really be a given.

Apple are innovators, Dyson are innovators, Amstrad were massively innovative in their heyday – and this is what most people should think of when they hear that word ‘innovation’.

At LEC, we started out as a single person communications consultancy four years ago. Since then, we have grown to a team of five and introduced design, social media, marketing, events management and photo/video production. That’s a lot of “something new or different introduced” yet we’d never call ourselves innovators. We focus on our strengths and do a good job for our clients and this has allowed the business to grow with such intensity for a company still in its infancy.

The moral of the story, and let’s end on a couple more clichés… walk before you can run, look before you leap and don’t count your chickens!