Innovation. It’s a simple word with quite a bit of implication. Just mentioning “innovation” in a conversation jumpstarts thoughts about new technology, creative thinking and disruption to rolling eyes at just the sound of what could be relegated to a simple buzzword. Everyone has their own, slightly different definition of “innovation,” and thoughts about what should be considered “innovative.”

We also tend to think about innovations as world changing inventions or processes that define a generation. While those would certainly be innovations, only considering those once-in-lifetime examples discounts the innovations we see that change our daily lives. More importantly, it doesn’t give proper respect to the innovators behind the creativity or their hard work.

Their purpose is in the end result and not in the action itself.

I’ve encountered many people who I would consider innovators and they share several traits, but the one that stands out most is these innovators don’t always realize they are innovators. They don’t always see their work as being innovative. They’re not thinking creatively to create new solutions, products or ways of doing things because they want to innovate. Instead they are simply creating new solutions because that’s what needed.

Their purpose is in the end result and not in the action itself. Peter Drucker said it best, “The test of innovation lies not in its novelty, its scientific content, or its cleverness. It lies in its success in the marketplace.”

In other words, it’s not about the shiny object; it’s about what the shiny object does for people.

In 2016, we began collecting examples of innovations in the broadcast industry. We wanted to highlight the work being done in local markets by broadcasters in service to their communities, and we wanted to profile some of the people doing that work.

As we’ve collected these stories and contacted the people behind them, one of the most common responses has been, “I’m sure you could find someone more innovative.” Innovators don’t always see their work as being innovative. Instead, they see their work for what it does for the people they serve rather than something “cool” or “shiny.”

We’ve met and profiled broadcasters building better ways to peer into stormy weather, creating ways to converse with radio listeners, and using technology to tell stories that immerse viewers.

Behind these and many other stories are the people who set out each day to serve their communities, and innovation is simply one of the many words used to describe the work they do.

We continue to uncover examples about innovation in broadcasting, and we need your help identifying the people behind those stories.