1. (noun) An idea or object that is new.

2. (noun) The act of creating something new or innovating.

Example: A new type of cancer drug.

Audio Pronunciation: (in·no·va·tion)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: innovations
  • Innovations typically confront customs and norms.
  • Numerous types of innovation exist including component innovation: improving one part of system; financial innovation: creating or modifying fiscal instruments; product innovation: creating or improving an existing product to sell; process innovation: making an existing product cheaper; religious innovation: changes in the practice of religious belief
  • Sociologist are interested in the diffusion of innovation across societies, cultures, and nations. Everett M. Rogers (1931–2004) developed diffusion of innovations theory in Diffusion of Innovations (1962) and coined the term early adopter. Called an innovation wave, innovations move from their originating location which are typically highly populated urban areas to other areas. Businesses rely on innovation strategies to market their products and manipulate the innovation wave.
  • Discontinuous innovation is introducing an entirely new product to market such as the original personal computers and continuous innovation is improving existing products such a new versions of software. Access to the internet is challenging traditional notions of innovation waves and the process of innovation.
  • Innovation occurs in all realms and sociologists have studied agricultural innovation, economic innovation, organizational innovation, and systems innovation among others.
  • Also called invention.
  • Social acceptance is the process of learning about, accepting, and adapting to an innovation.
  • An (noun) innovator or (noun) innovationist (verb) innovates by (verb) innovating (adjective) innovational or (adjective) innovatory ideas, products, or methods that (adverb) innovatively exhibit (noun) innovativeness.
  • Innovation used in a sentence: The innovation of the internet changed everything, you can now look up sociology definitions in seconds.

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Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.