I grow weary of folks, a group that includes myself, using the term “innovation” in the wrong way. Whenever something is new, or fresh, or different…innovation!

Innovation is NOT new or fresh or different.

Innovation is communal, cumulative and calm. It shifts everything from what it was to what it becomes. When it shows up, it might seem new or fresh or different; but I think that’s because we aren’t paying attention to the legion of people involved, the simmering trial-and-error of learning, and the quiet little cat feet on which it travels.

It’s hard to illustrate innovation. Maybe diversity is innovative. I don’t know.

I can illustrate innovators. One is Barbara, who is older than 90. When you meet Barbara, she embraces you with her whole personality. She connects. She IS communal. When you talk to Barbara, she shares her experience to support what she hears you saying. She is history. She IS cumulative. When you are with Barbara, time just takes a back seat since she doesn’t pay it any mind. She IS calmness.

Another is Kathy, who is 50-something and so busy, it’s hard to catch her with moments to spare. When you meet Kathy, she is present, as if nothing else is on her agenda. She IS communal. When you talk to Kathy, she shares her remembering of everything you ever told her and gives it back to you like a gift. She IS cumulative. When you are with Kathy, time is enhanced by the way she fills it up and shares it with you. She IS calmness.

If you value innovation, find some innovators. They will help you be it.

About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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