Is technology at the base of all innovations?

Someone told me recently that there is a correlation between economic recession and the frequency of the use of the word “innovation”. The correlation is a positive one. I have no idea if it is true, or even how you could find out, but I suspect there could be something in it. Once you start looking, “innovation” crops up everywhere, sprinkled like confetti in print and broadcast media, blogs and, of course, on the professional workshop circuit, where people make a living telling others how to achieve it.

I don’t mean to criticise – I refer to it several times in my introduction to the University of Northampton’s latest annual review. But what exactly is “innovation”?

There is certainly no shortage of innovation-support organisations working for and within the higher education sector, the Technology Strategy Board among them. Their help and guidance notwithstanding, one thing these organisations and many others seem to share is a sense that innovation is synonymous with technology. This is short-sighted.

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