“An innovator in a general sense, is a person or an organization who is one of the first to introduce into reality something better than before. That often opens up a new area for others and achieves an innovation.” – Wikipedia.
“Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself. Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than doing the same thing better.” – Wikipedia.
Most typically, those whose inventions become adopted and leveraged by others are the ones who get to be called innovators. So, innovation delivers a sense of usefulness and practicality beyond creativeness and inventiveness. Innovation also implies novelty, this means being a first in a given category or jumpstarting a new category altogether.
Some experts concurred on bullet proofing what innovation was all about by asking for evidence of a successful commercialization. However, there are a couple of issues with that. First, many of today’s innovations happen in the open source’s new brave world and, second, there are quite a few interesting things going on in not-for-profit domains. Additionally, some novelties happen to be ahead of their time and most would still think of their creators as true innovations. Furthermore, we would need to talk about those that got early adopters but did not get to cross the chasm to paraphrase Geoffrey A. More.
My preference is to look at this matter by assessing [a] whether a given item is a first, [b] if it makes a substantial difference when compared to what exists and  if it is leveraged by others and to what extent, even if they don’t happen to be the intended target users, which then becomes an accidental innovation.
Moreover, there are two ways for a new item to make a substantial enough difference: [b.1] a dramatic improvement in usability, technical and/or business performance, which qualifies as an incremental innovation, or [b.2] a game changer that delivers something that’s unique, something that we would not entertain doing without, which qualifies as a disruptive innovation.
Anyway, in case you wondered why this blog’s title. I think that there are many people who are not necessarily innovators, yet they are fans of: freedom, creative thinking, thought provoking and forward looking concepts, risk taking and the entrepreneurial spirit that challenges, bends, breaks, displaces and even creates new rules.
However, I’m not certain about a word that exists in the English language to galvanize this community. Otherwise, please let me know. In the meantime, I am proposing innovarista for anyone devoted to practicing, researching, evangelizing or, to put it simply, anyone interested in the invention and innovation phenomenon with passion.