The “Innovation” Buzzword: Useful or Vacuous?

This month we introduce a new feature to our monthly e-bulletin: COCo Connect. In this segment, we’ll be reflecting on an event or process that COCo staff, board, or members have been involved in during the previous month. We’re hoping to inspire rich, grounded exchanges on our collective work, so let us know what you think!

On October 11, COCo staff attended a seminar organized by Relais-Femmes about organizational change and social innovation. Led by Louise Lafortune from l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, the event raised engaging reflections about the concepts of ‘change’ and ‘innovation’. What distinguishes one from the other? Why does ‘innovation’ seem to be a buzz word in today’s context, particularly among funders? Do we innovate simply for the sake of innovating?

Does your community group use the term ‘innovation’, and if so, in what context and with what expectations is this term used?

During the session, an interesting conversation arose about the reality, rather difficulty, around consensus decision-making. Many agreed that although this was a worthy objective, it often was not realistic. Some believed it best to focus on those within a group that could be influenced around a certain decision rather than paying too much attention to the ‘extreme’, outlying voices of dissent. As COCo uses a consensus-based model for decision-making, we’re curious to hear our member communities’ reflections on this issue.