This article is cross-posted from eJewishPhilanthropy.
Innovation has certainly been a very popular buzzword over the past two years. Not just in the Jewish community, but in every aspect of promotion and advertising, we continue to hear about the benefits of innovation. Ranging from car commercials to the President’s State of the Union, innovation is clearly seen as a huge benefit. The overarching question, however, is, “What is innovation?” Although I didn’t think about being an innovator when I created Moishe House, I have since sat on many panels discussing the topic and we have even received generous funding targeted towards innovation. So, how can innovation be pushed and nurtured?
In a nutshell, innovation to me is not necessarily creating something new but rather, finding a new way to meet an existing need. For example, Google is innovative because it built a new way to find information, far superior to its predecessors, such as Encyclopedia Britannica.
With all this excitement around innovation, how do we know if our innovative ideas are effective? How can we best support it without just throwing money at buzzwords for the sake of feeling like we are keeping up with the times, even if it is artificial? The following begins to address these critical questions: