The meaning of innovation for consumers

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Innovation in business

In history, innovative technologies like a light-bulb replacing candles [1] greatly impacted the way people live and work. More effective business models like eBay’s marketplace [2], changed the way we buy used goods. Even looking at modern societies, we wouldn’t be the same without the invention of democracy [3].

Earlier this year, we were looking at the BCG report for the top 50 most innovative companies. Although we don’t have flying cars yet, augmented reality, drones, self-driving cars, AI in healthcare, and even new business models are driving today’s innovation forward.

As Forbes stated in their publication:

Click to enlarge

So how can your business not just improve its innovation in business, but also the perception of being an innovative company by consumers? In this article we describe the actual thoughts people have when it comes to the topic of innovation, and how you can use these associations to better position your brand and product in the market.

Understanding the associations will help you write better content about innovation. You can also use its emotional power to inspire more innovation in your company [4]. We even show which social media posts on Facebook and Instagram are more (or less) engaging. Which images may help you to communicate those concepts and which keywords offer the highest potential for your innovation content.

What prevents innovation? The dangerous brew of fear and complacency—staying where you are out of fear of failing, of blowing too much money, or of placing the wrong bets.

Betty Cohen - former president of Cartoon Network Worldwide Tweet

What people think about innovation

As a brand value, being perceived as innovative is desirable. Companies with a strong perception of being innovative are also more competitive in the marketplace, by selling more new products [5].

To understand the meaning of innovation, we scraped mentions of “Innovation” in millions of contexts. Over 70 Billion words from sources in the USA and worldwide are considered in the dataset. We then applied machine learning to predict implicit associations and emotions, underlying meaning of innovation.

Innovation is making people think about positive things [26%]. When rating the associations that come to mind, the general population would have a positive / happy reaction to hearing the word innovation.

The word Innovation is perceived as dominant  [20%]. A company that stands for innovation is more easily perceived as a strong competitor. As a concept its perceived as slightly more masculine and slightly more abstract than concrete.

It’s therefore not enough to say that you are “innovative”, you need to show it. Let’s consider the sub-topics of innovation to help you create content that helps people understand that you truly stand for innovation.

The meaning of innovation in a flower graph

The meaning of innovation and its sub-topics

The flower graph is the heart of the Neuro Flash – Concept explorer (sign-up for the software here). The graph shows words that are connected to the seedword: “innovation”. Words closer to the middle are more strongly related to the concept in the middle. When you want your audience to think about “innovation” you can use the words on the graph to do so, preferring the ones closer to the middle, the association bulls-eye.

You can always see how words are sorted by looking at the legend at the bottom. In this case, words are connected to the seedword (“innovation”) and are more common will be displayed in the middle. Using those is recommended because many people will know the word and they are all connected to “innovation”.

Color of the bubbles surrounding a word indicate mood. More green is more happy, more red is more sad. White is neutral. This means that e.g. green word is perceived to be more unmistakable positive. The words/concepts: opportunity, advance, vitality are more unmistakably positive than technology, global, and develope.

Size indicates the word’s commonness in the country (USA). Big means more common, smaller means less common.

Innovation sub-topics

The main sub-topics of Innovation are: Technology, Entrepreneurship & Startups, Creativity and R&D. Using the Neuro Flash association Explorer, we show the concepts strongly connected to each sub-topic and suggest different ways of communicating them. If you want to dig deeper into any association, try the Neuro Flash software for free here.

Technology

One association of innovation is technology
Click to enlarge

Technology, is an emotionally neutral and common concept, very closely linked to innovation. Highlighting your technological advancements is a straight-forward way to communicate innovation. Advanced, intelligent and invention are central and positive as well. Looking at Softbank’s robotics advancements, Pepper the robot, gives innovation an approachable face. 

The meaning of innovation expressed by a technological advancement, a robot
Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Entrepreneurship & Startups

Another association of innovation is startups and entrepreneurial
Click to enlarge

Entrepreneurship & Startups are positive and common concepts. Accelerators, incubators, venture, visionary and initiative are all connected concepts that are also very positive. It is not surprising therefore that companies create accelerators and startup programs to always have something innovative to communicate. Shoutout to Telekom’s Techboost Program and the Microsoft accelerator, our cooperation partners 🙂

Entrepreneurs and startups are also part of the meaning of innovation
Photo by Slidebean on Unsplash

Creativity

Creativity is a strong association with innovation
Click to enlarge

Creativity, means finding  novel solutions, a concept that is positive, common, and clearly related to innovation. Finding artistic partners in your communication will immediately spark “innovation” associations. Sponsoring artists, painting your product with wild splashed of the rainbow. Communicating “creative” ideas can successfully communicate innovation.

Creativity as part of the meaning of innovation
Photo by Daniel Korpai on Unsplash

R&D

Innovation and R&D are closely linked in consumer minds
Click to enlarge

R&D, is the only slightly negative emotionally loaded concept in the flower graph. Slightly less common than the previous concepts. Research ad development is the department descriptor but not necessarily the best way of sparking positive interest. But slight changes may help. Neuro Flash’s explorer can be setup to find R&D associations that are optimized for positive emotions, which shows that words like “Discovery” are a lot more positive. Talking about the Discovery and Development Department is already more positive.

R&D being part of the meaning of innovation
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

The sentiments surrounding the meaning of innovation

#6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All GraphicsEmotional Dimensionsof Innovationuniqueversatilityenlightenmentprestigiouscornerstoneinsightrecognizeventuregreatnessforefrontexceptionalinspirestrengthenaspirationmeaningfulexciterecognitionpowerhouseadvancementachievementpartnershipsuccesstalentspotlightenthusiasmopportunityprosperityextraordinarybrillianceflourishendeavorbreakthroughembraceexpertiseunparalleled

The Venn Diagram shows which associations with innovation are able to communicate different emotions.

In the middle, you find words that are strong on all emotions: advance, excite, recognition, passion, powerhouse. Therefore, when writing about innovation, using words like passion will excite people, ensure your brand is perceived as interested in positive change, and also a powerhouse to be reckoned with.

If you’re more interested to come across as both Happy and Emotional, words like advancement, cooperation, and partnership are very suitable. A slogan like “Your global partner for engineered innovation” would capture this spirit. 

If your goal is to stay positive and exert power, using words like opportunity, vitality, prosperity, and brilliance can help you communicate.

Both emotional and powerful associations are: prestigious, success, talent, enthusiasm, endeavor. Very innovative companies like Tesla and Apple, are very effective in attracting talent through their enthusiasm and appeal to a higher endeavor. Such words, when used, need to be backed up with “facts on the ground”. Being powerful and emotional, claiming these traits is bold. Making sure that people find reasons to believe them is therefore very important.

Focus emotions for expressing the meaning of innovation

More nimble, clearly happy associations are: unique, flourish, versatility, and enlightenment. Purely emotional associations are: spotlight, breakthrough, passionate, embrace, remarkable. And exclusively powerful associations are: achieve, cornerstone, nurture, exceptional, enrich.

Depending on your communication goal, pick from the emotional side that you want to strengthen or where your brand may already have strong assets. The meaning of innovation is abstract, therefore, communicating the message of innovation needs to carry the emotional impact which helps people stay engaged. Which in turn has many benefits for your brand building and consumer loyalty [6]. 

Innovation content with higher engagement on Facebook

innovatecollaborationentrepreneurialinitiative▲pioneerinventiongroundbreakingindustryglobalizationrevolutionizeleadershipecosystemglobalgrowthempowerment▲infrastructurethinkerachievement▲healthcareeconomysectorproductivityorganisationdiscoveryengineermobilityhubphilanthropysummitecologicalfuturisticpassionflagshippowerhouseenvironment▲businessautomationplatformpartnercompanyarchitectureeducationinvestmentinstituteexpocommunityscalableactivismconferenceadoptionabmrenownedcomputationaligniteprestigiousagricultureinfluential▼worldfoundscientistallianceabbworkplacerenewableawarddecadesphereunleashrapid▲milestoneenergyhorizonhospitalitypharmalogisticmillenniumstrideadvocateaerospacefoundationnetworkurbanleapsocietymarketerrenaissanceboundary▲awarenessfeminismconservationaviationneurosciencetourismregionallifestylewellbeingimmersive▲accoladeexhibitionroirevivaldeploymentbiodiversitynonprofitpinnacletechnokineticheritagepipelineestablishmentgamingbuildhumanitarianindiavibrantfearless▼chinainfographicspecialiseheadquarterhumansolidaritycentrelifelongclimateacclaimstudysimulation▲teamnoidaenthusiasticeuropecosmosboom▼paramounthonor▼rolecapitalprominent▼expertrevenue▲luxuryhappinessstanfordenormoustriumphnasaacademywide rangefranchisecampusfiercesingaporeexcitementiconicpolitic▼solarcombustionhuman rightslectureuhdchampion▼xtremeuaemathematicsforwardchemistrysamsungfacultyeinsteinwelfaredrivephysicpetroleumcelebratetalentedfellowshipspiritmaritimevolvorobotnigeriaecommerceoffshoreaciscience fictioncontinentcosmopolitan▼islamicbeijinganthropologyendurancebillionucphilosopher▼landscapeghanacorpawelandmark▼obstacleamericasmachineryfitnessaudiencemedicalgeographyhitachidubai▼nuclearextensivegeothermalcrazedynamoeventmedicinepovertyfrankfurtrecruitbuddhismminespanindependence▼lifedemocraticcorridorcentennialannualcongratulate▼dentistryentertainmentvisibility▲ambassador▼popularchristianitypetrochemicalsurgejourneyarchaeologyvortexesteemcrusade▼netherlandsethiopiaberlin▼metropolisembarkcombatpolynesiadavid▼asset▲threatplanet▼naturalbeautygravitycongressforbes▼更多defencebig▼automatic transmissionjapandr▼guangzhoumassivedrupal More EngagementLess EngagementHappierSadderEngagement is most correlatedwith Mood. image/svg+xml #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 image/svg+xml #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 Less Important MoreImportant 0.00 0.04 0.02 -0.02 -0.04 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 tangible audit incentive nutrition handbook profitabilty healthy transparency literacy climate philanthropy mission international heritage scientific More Engagement Less Engagement Engagement is mostcorrelatedwithDimension X image/svg+xml #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 Less Important MoreImportant 0.00 0.04 0.02 -0.02 -0.04 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 tangible audit incentive nutrition handbook profitabilty healthy transparency literacy climate philanthropy mission international heritage scientific More Engagement Less Engagement Engagement is mostcorrelatedwithDimension X #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 upward trenddownward trend

Posts on Facebook about Innovation get more engagement when they are also triggering people to think about champion, or things 3D. Certain Brands appear particularly engaging with their content with McLaren and Puma being able to combine innovation with talking about their brand (see an example below). We also observe that people engage with content that mentions geographic locations (europe and india). Highlighting local innovation may also carry pride with achievements and thereby trigger more engagement.

An engaging Facebook post from McLaren

Innovation content with higher engagement on Instagram

innovatecollaborationentrepreneurialinitiativepioneerinventiongroundbreakingindustryglobalizationrevolutionizeleadershipecosystemglobalgrowthempowermentinfrastructure▼thinkerachievement▲healthcareeconomysectorproductivityorganisationdiscovery▲engineermobilityhub▼philanthropysummitecologicalfuturisticpassion▲flagshippowerhouseenvironmentbusinessautomation▼platformpartnercompanyarchitectureeducationinvestmentinstituteexpo▼communityscalable▼activismconferenceadoptionabmrenownedcomputationaligniteprestigiousagricultureinfluentialworldfoundscientistallianceabbworkplacerenewableawarddecadesphereunleashrapidmilestoneenergyhorizonhospitalitypharma▼logistic▼millenniumstrideadvocateaerospacefoundationnetworkurbanleapsocietymarketerrenaissanceboundaryawarenessfeminismconservationaviationneurosciencetourismregionallifestylewellbeingimmersiveaccoladeexhibitionroirevivaldeployment▼biodiversitynonprofitpinnacle▲technokineticheritagepipelineestablishmentgamingbuildhumanitarianindiavibrant▲fearlesschinainfographicspecialiseheadquarter▼humansolidaritycentrelifelong▲climateacclaimstudysimulationteamnoida▼enthusiasticeuropecosmosboomparamounthonorrolecapitalprominentexpertrevenueluxuryhappiness▲stanfordenormous▲triumph▲nasaacademywide rangefranchisecampusfiercesingapore▼excitement▲iconicpoliticsolarcombustionhuman rightslectureuhdchampionxtremeuaemathematicsforwardchemistrysamsungfacultyeinsteinwelfaredrivephysicpetroleumcelebratetalented▲fellowshipspirit▲maritimevolvorobotnigeriaecommerce▼offshore▼aci▼science fictioncontinentcosmopolitanislamicbeijing▼anthropologyendurancebillionuc▼philosopherlandscapeghanacorpawe▲landmarkobstacleamericas▼machineryfitnessaudiencemedicalgeographyhitachidubai▼nuclearextensivegeothermalcrazedynamoeventmedicinepovertyfrankfurtrecruitbuddhismminespanindependencelifedemocraticcorridorcentennialannualcongratulatedentistryentertainmentvisibilityambassadorpopularchristianitypetrochemicalsurgejourneyarchaeologyvortexesteem▲crusadenetherlandsethiopiaberlinmetropolisembarkcombatpolynesiadavidassetthreatplanetnatural▲beauty▲gravitycongressforbes更多defencebigautomatic transmissionjapandrguangzhou▼massivedrupal▼ More EngagementLess EngagementMoreEmotionalMoreCalmingEngagement is most correlatedwith Emotional. image/svg+xml #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 image/svg+xml #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 Less Important MoreImportant 0.00 0.04 0.02 -0.02 -0.04 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 tangible audit incentive nutrition handbook profitabilty healthy transparency literacy climate philanthropy mission international heritage scientific More Engagement Less Engagement Engagement is mostcorrelatedwithDimension X image/svg+xml #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730 Less Important MoreImportant 0.00 0.04 0.02 -0.02 -0.04 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 tangible audit incentive nutrition handbook profitabilty healthy transparency literacy climate philanthropy mission international heritage scientific More Engagement Less Engagement Engagement is mostcorrelatedwithDimension X #6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730#6436 - World Association Wiki page template - All Graphics - 0730upward trenddownward trend

Images connected to engaging topics on Instagram

Happiness

(Happy and Engaging)

Life

(Quite Happy and Engaging)

Rapid

(Neutral and Engaging)

Poverty

(Quite Sad and Engaging)

Threat

(Sad and Engaging)

11 11 11 11 11
11 11 11 11 11
11 11 11 11 11
11 11 11 11 11

These images were looked up from Unsplash, using a keyword from the engagement analysis. The results were then sorted by their closeness to innovation.

Long tail keywords about innovation with high potential

These Keywords are ranked by being searched for a lot, having a low CPC (cost per click) and low competition. 

Term Av. monthly search volume Av. CPC Competition
new innovative

11K

$2.30

Low (0.0%)

innovation synonym 27K

$0.16

Low (0.0%)

meaning of innovation

81K

$1.54

Low (0.0%)

what does innovation mean

81K

$1.14

Low (1.0%)

innovation quotes

54K

$0.10

Low (0.0%)

innovative at work

10K

$1.32

Low (2.0%)

definition of innovation

60K

$3.30

Low (1.0%)

innovation is

66K

$2.99

Low (1.0%)

innovation examples 24K

$3.66

Low (1.0%)

innovation center 24K

$3.80

Low (3.0%)

service innovation 19K $3.54

Low (3.0%)

brand innovation

16K

$4.56

Low (1.0%)

innovation learning

16K

$5.00

Low (1.0%)

types of innovation

13K

$3.33

Low (1.0%)

innovation engineering

10K

$3.14

Low (2.0%)

define innovator

36K

$6.95

Low (1.0%)

creativity and innovation

10K

$2.71

Low (3.0%)

innovation design

10K

$1.98

Low (14.0%)

innovation company 19K

$4.62

Low (14.0%)

innovative ideas

29K

$5.14

Low (10.0%)

Summing up the meaning of innovation

In this post we described the meaning of innovation. We divided the topic in its sub-topics and showed the emotional impact of its different parts. We found that innovation has four strong sub-topics: Technology, Entrepreneurship & Startups, Creativity and R&D

Successful content should take into consideration which emotions are excited by using certain words over others. To become an innovation powerhouse (emotional, dominant and happy – sentiment inducing), the passion for innovation needs to be shown with believable examples from the technology and the people side. 

The strong connection with entrepreneurship & startups shows that its in the end a matter of people and processes that drive real innovation.

 What innovation is, will be defined by the words and image you use when communicating your brand and your culture to the world.

A champion of innovation is born, when your content can communicate the many facets of innovation, while staying grounded in reality but always striving for new development at the forefront.

The Neuro Flash "Tester" giving innovative slogan suggestions

To conclude, let’s consider the slogans that Neuro Flash’s text tester has identified to be the most innovative, positive, exciting and powerful:

  1. For a world of exciting opportunities.
  2. Loved by those who love technology.
  3. Where great ideas come to life.
  4. Innovative. For greater performance and efficiency.
  5. The power of ideas at work.
  6. Freedom in technology. Freedom in life.
  7. A brighter future – With expertise on your side.
  8. Preparing you for a world of opportunity.
  9. Where great ideas go on to do great things.
  10. Positive creativity for a vibrant future.
  11. Passion for creative solutions and innovative technologies.
  12. Clever – creative – sustainable – smart.
  13. Inspiration and insight for growing businesses.
  14. Where beauty and technology come together.
  15. The vision to bring ideas to life.

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