As Innovation Becomes a Buzzword in Business, Two Companies in Exton Share What It Means to Them

Image via J.W. Pepper.

Innovation has risen to buzzword status in recent years, with innovation centers popping up all over the region and many companies having officers that are purely focused on innovation, writes Paige Gross for Philly.

Bob Cooper – the chief innovation officer at Exton-based J.W. Pepper, a sheet music retailer – said that a lot of his job consists of simply asking “why?”

“Why are we having this meeting? Why are we doing something this way?” he said. “The answer is that it has to reconnect in a radical way to the endgame. We’ve got to innovate around what we do, currently.”

He said that, nowadays, corporations are investing more into research and development to become innovators, something that was popular in the 1960s and the ’70s.

Patrick Hayakawa, vice president of innovation and emerging technologies at the Chester County Economic Development Council, said that some companies have been outsourcing innovation by putting a call out for ideas or through holding innovation contests.

For him, it is easier to define what innovation is not – for example, when somebody points at the neighboring city and says, “we need to be innovative like that.”

“If you’re always looking over someone’s shoulder, by definition, you’re imitating, not innovating,” he said.

Read more about innovation at Philly here.

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