The Importance of Innovation

January 22, 2016

Innovation: noun | in-no-va-tion | \ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən\ | a new idea, device or method.

Webster’s Dictionary defines innovation succinctly. It’s a high-level explanation of a word that, in some company cultures, is more buzzword than business practice.

At VSP Global®, innovation is a way of life. It’s so deeply engrained in our culture that we developed three innovation labs where rotations of employees from every line of business, level of experience, education and background can help us be a better company. The labs are called The Shop.

The Shop West, located 15 minutes from our company headquarters, is in downtown Sacramento. Led by Jay Sales, the West Coast Shop stands at the intersection of software and hardware and focuses on delivering better eye care and products to patients and better workflow services to doctors.

The Shop East is located in the same building as Marchon Eyewear’s design center in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District. Leslie Muller leads the East Coast Shop’s exploration of industrial design, alternative manufacturing and materials science, and other technologies to reinvent the way eyewear is created, utilized and worn.

We don’t just talk about it, we live it. I’ve seen how innovation has made VSP better. I’ve also seen how it can help communities grow and thrive. Our company is headquartered near Sacramento, California. What used to be known as a sleepy government town just a gas tank away from San Francisco or Lake Tahoe is now a thriving and energetic community.

UC Davis Professor Andrew Hargadon often talks about strategy for innovation that relies less on the lone genius and more on the ability to tap your networks and create breakthrough innovations. Behind every breakthrough is a collective effort, or nexus work, that combines and tweaks already existing ideas and technology in original ways. Thomas Edison didn’t create the electric light bulb on his own; it was a product of a team.

We’re at a pinnacle moment in Sacramento, where we can either continue to launch innovative partnerships, programs and growth strategies—or we can ride the wave of our recent successes and hope for continued progress. Personally, I’d rather go with the former and I want you to join me in making that happen.  

So here it is, my challenge to you, Sacramento: Let’s keep innovating and learning and producing nexus work together. We can help Sacramento live up to its potential. I want to work together with business, community and government leaders to create innovative ideas for our community. This spring, I’ll host an Innovation Challenge inside The Shop West and want you to join me.

Leave your information in the comments below to get more information about how you can join this effort to transform Sacramento.

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