Innovation: Local entrepreneurs share definitions, tips + cautions

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“They say” you need it to succeed.

“They say” your business will die without it.

So we say, what does innovation even mean anyway? BusinessQ asked six entrepreneurs to share their definitions, tips + cautions of the iconic business buzzword.


David Royce, Founder of Aptive Environmental in Provo

Innovation Definition

There are two distinct types of entrepreneurial innovation. ​The first is “evolutionary” innovation, which comes in the form of small incremental improvements ​to an already proven business model with an ROI. This form of innovation applies to traditional industries. The second form of entrepreneurship is “disruptive” innovation, which starts with a big idea and no working model. The risk of failure is significantly higher, however the rewards can be extraordinary ​as can be seen from today’s venture-funded unicorns.

Innovation Tip

Don’t let the CEO do it alone. Searching out ​innovation becomes difficult as ​a ​​company grows larger.​ ​I’ve found our best ideas come from frontline employees who ​constantly ​interact with ​customers. ​Moments of genius ​occur ​daily ​throughout a workforce, ​and it’s the executive team’s job to ​make sure these epiphanies ​get funneled back to headquarters.

Innovation Caution

Resting on your laurels. ​The strategies and innovations large companies utilized to spar their way to the top of their industry are often not the same ones that will keep them there.


Chari Pack, Founder of Persnickety Prints in Orem

Innovation Definition

Innovation is taking an idea or problem and creating a valuable solution. Unless executed, it’s just an idea. In my business, innovation has been key to funding, growth and our company culture.

Innovation Tip

Know your customer. Know your customer. Know your customer. If your customer doesn’t perceive your solution as having value, they won’t be compelled to purchase it. How do we improve our service and products at Persnickety Prints? We listen to our customers — they’re the seeds of innovation! A customer’s need gives us the opportunity to find a solution. I personally read every customer email, review, complaint or suggestion. Our customers drive our business.

Innovation Caution

Innovation is more than a great idea. Mistakes happen when I’m not also focused on our values, culture, product, service, communication and delivery. These all play a part in successful execution of every idea.


Brandon Fugal, Chairman of Coldwell Banker Commercial in Salt Lake City

Innovation Definition

Innovation is the process of introducing something new. This can be as simple as introducing a new idea or process, or as complex as bringing to market a new device or product.

Innovation Tip

You are either taking steps forward or backward — you’re never standing still. Innovation requires progression, often challenging or disrupting the norm.

Innovation Caution

Beware the lack of proper execution. Utah Valley’s own WordPerfect is a great example. I believe WordPerfect was the superior and most innovative word processing program versus Microsoft Word, but it failed to effectively execute and implement its Windows strategy.


Kathleen Lopez, CEO + broker of Sentinel Sales and Management in American Fork

Innovation Definition

Creating something of value for customers. It can be a new idea or product, or an improvement on an existing product or service. It’s looking at new ways of doing things; always looking to improve.

Innovation Tip

Think outside the box and get out of the rut of repetition. Don’t be complacent. Find inspiration in various forums as it applies to your business.

Innovation Caution

Fear and doubt to step out.


Stephen Richards, Founder of BetterBody Foods in Lindon

Innovation Definition

Progressive, consistent improvement of your products and services.

Innovation Tip

Never permit anyone to say, or adopt, “If it ain’t broke, do not fix” philosophy. It is always broke, and it needs to be constantly improved or others will move ahead of you.

Innovation Caution

Getting ahead of yourself. Be progressive, but you need to understand if the market is ready for it and what the consequences will be if adopted.


Mike Sharp, CPO + co-founder of Jive in Orem

Innovation Definition

Innovation comes in many flavors. From building a new tool to delivering an existing good or service in a more effective way, innovation happens when people challenge conventional thinking.

Innovation Tip

1. Actively fight against a fear of failure. Drive a “sometimes you win, sometimes you learn” mentality.

2. Encourage “local” innovation. If we only give ourselves credit for something that none of the other 7 billion people on this planet have done, we’ve set an unreasonably high bar. Celebrate yourself and your teams for applying new ideas, regardless of their originality.

3. Supplement your data with first-hand anecdotes. Talk to your partners and customers, your front-line employees, everyone. The combination of data and anecdotes can be a powerful muse.

Innovation Caution

We’re human, so we generally suck at dealing with failure. We fear it, apologize for it, and are embarrassed by it. Worst of all, we play it too safe and miss opportunities to develop and grow. Everything worth doing comes with risk. Force yourself to think rationally about the true cost of recovering from failure, and you’ll free yourself and those around you.

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