HBR: To get employees on board with innovation, give it a new name

As is often the case with far-reaching, change-signaling workplace strategies, even as it increases in importance and prevalence, innovation is at risk of becoming nothing more than a buzzword, derided and dreaded by employees across all levels of an organization.

To rescue innovation initiatives from this fate, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests a rebrand. The term "innovation" can summon images of uncontrollable, unwelcome change, complete with organizationwide restructuring and even job cuts.

"Instead of scaring everyone off with the I-word, how about finding language that in your specific context (industry, country) speaks of continuity and benefit?" HBR proposes.

Potentially more manageable stand-ins for the word innovation include idea or — in a nod to the initiatives' ideal end results — simplicity, organizational health or "just staying in business," per HBR.

"The word 'innovation' might speak to your external stakeholders, but when it comes to engaging your employees, it's time to stop using the word," the article concludes. "Whatever term you choose, make it about your audience — not you, your PR department, or the next big Davos announcement. That way, innovation might actually stand a chance."

More articles on innovation:
Houston Methodist Center for Innovation opens hub to test new tech
Cleveland Clinic receives $2M to appoint geriatric innovation leader
OSF HealthCare, UnityPoint invest in patient monitoring startup

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