I'm subtooting not one but two conversations at once when I post the following definition of innovation from a throwaway line in Bruno Latour's 'Aramis'

“a project is considered innovative when the number of actors is not known at the outset”

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Innovation is all about relationships. To create and improve services takes new alliances between human actors – be they customers, workers or citizens – and often non-human ones too – technologies, corporations and institutions.

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It’s also the art of the unpredictable. Congratulations if you already know just who needs to do what, with whom, where and when to make something succeed – but innovation isn’t like that.

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The larger, and older, the organisation, the harder its peole havd to work to avoid repeating old patterns that exclude the potential for new relationships forming.

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There are many different ideas about how to innovate, from the wild throw-mud-at-the-wall variety to the rigorously data-driven and analytical.

People-centred service design provides a happy, human medium – thinking big enough for real breakthroughs, all the while grounded in genuine user insight.

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