Innovation of Business

and the
Business of Innovation™
Language as a Force for Change

Language as a Force for Change
Gary Lundquist

This is the Preface to Market Engineering's Dictionary of Innovation and Marketing , Edition 17. To download the PDF, click on the title.

Language influences how we think, and how we think determines what we believe to be possible. When it comes to business, language and concepts are scattered like straw in the wind. Everyone has his or her own definitions. Every situation puts a different spin on words and ideas.

We can’t work together this way. Assumptions lead to errors in judgment and expectation. People go in different directions, thinking they are on the same track.

We need a coherent, consistent view of business if we are to successfully create wealth by serving customers. And that view is key to surviving and thriving in today’s complex, ever-changing world.


Our world is changing fast! The Information Age is already aging; competition has gone hyper-global; and who even remembers the dot.coms? Organizations are flatter; middle management is vanishing; and technology replaces more human functions every day.

This isn't just a storm, but a major climate change. The industrial age is nearly dead, creating both new opportunities and new risks. If we don't adapt, we won't survive. If we don't learn key skills, we will fall behind.

This is no incremental revision. It is a permanent change that demands new ways of thinking. If we can't conceive of the problems we face, then we certainly can't be effective at solving them.

Outdated mindsets become barriers to progress. We think in our own language and see the world from personal perspectives. The same scenario seems very different when described by a scientist than by an attorney.

Language determines how we define our problems and how we try to solve them. Imagine a carpenter doing plumbing or electrical wiring with only a hammer and nails mentality. Changing language changes the tools sought and the methods used. Precise language enables what we believe to be possible. It puts the reality of meaning in place of assumptions. It helps us make sense of what might otherwise be rejected as incomprehensible.

Market Engineering first published its Dictionary of Marketing in 1989. Emphases on technology management and transfer began in the mid-90s. A reorientation to innovation began in 2003. Target audiences now include:

• Businesses serving commercial customers
• Government laboratories serving the public
• New and existing businesses seeking funding
• Leaders and managers at all levels
• Innovators within companies promoting ideas for management support
• Departments and technical services within organizations seeking internal customers, often in competition with outsourcing
• Teams seeking further investment at phase reviews during product development
• Organizations justifying transfer of technologies to other organizations.

A dictionary integrating innovation and marketing is needed, in part, because existing dictionaries on marketing focus on consumer marketing. Further, there are no dictionaries of innovation. (Literally! Google it.)

Marketing is the science of making and keeping satisfied customers at a profit, over time, in a competitive environment. This definition alone identifies a range of concepts needed for marketing success. Language must fit commercial marketing of products and services; internal marketing of science, engineering, and technical services; technology transfer; and marketing of investment opportunities.

Innovation is the development of ideas into products in use, for the first time anywhere, that create compelling value for customers. Here a “product” may be at least: tangible, service, process, tool, strategy, business model, or business. Product innovation is product marketing. Business innovation is strategic marketing.

Research and development create and exploit knowledge in scientific and engineering arenas. Technology transfer initiates, designs, and implements cooperative, win-win value exchanges between sources and adopters of technologies.

Integration of these disciplines thus results in a dictionary ideally suited for business and technical professionals and their management in industry, government, academia, and the arts.



11. "Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow." William Pollard (famed businessman)

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