Weekly Word Archives

Weekly Word 3 March 2015

Illustration by Kevin Christopher M. Tee (2015)
Illustration by Kevin Christopher M. Tee (2015)

| ɪnəˈveɪʃ(ə)n |

Last week, I wrote about upcycling, and mentioned my innovation article there. It’s no accident that I planned for writing on the word “innovation” itself after these.

I like the etymology of this word. Novare is a Latin verb that means “to make new”. I can’t think of any more apt root word for this word and concept, but I like how it goes deep. Not only does to innovate mean to introduce new methods, ideas, or products; in doing so, we breathe new life into them. Through upcycling, we give a new life, a new hope, to a junk or low-value thing by multiplying its value tenfold or more.

Imagine you were a thing that had outlived its usefulness or had been born by nature as something of junk value. You’d hardly feel good, wouldn’t you? Perhaps you would bemoan your existence and cry out, “Woe is me.” But some genius decided that you were just right for their purpose, and you were turned – or returned – into something of value. You’d be crying tears of joy that you’d been given a second chance at life.

Innovation is today hardly just a buzzword. With a highly competitive market – and we’re not just talking about the business or economic markets – innovation needs to become a lifestyle if we want to achieve an impact. With so many things material or abstract around us, more than ever before, people want a breather, something refreshingly different. That’s where innovation comes in.

Anyone and everyone is capable of innovation. Sometimes, we ignore or, worse, repress their innovative juices. The Philippines as a country has been ignored or repressed by its colonizers, used rather than befriended. And today, we still suffer from colonial mentality, accepting that products and services from abroad – especially the US and Japan, for instance – are always superior to Philippine-made products. This has got to stop. And one way of doing so is to realize that everyone is capable of (social) innovation – especially our less fortunate brothers and sisters, those whose plight has gone largely unaddressed throughout history, those whose brains had never been juiced of their creativity in a strong, healthy, and successful organization as they have time and again needed to focus on keeping themselves and their families alive.

Definition (innovation)

noun [mass noun]

  • the action or process of innovating
    • (count noun) a new method, idea, product, etc.

verb [no obj.] (innovate)

  • to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products
    • [with obj.] to introduce sth. new, especially a product


Mid-16th century, from Latin innovat- (“renewed”, “altered”), itself from the verb innovare, itself from in– (“into”) + novare (“to make new” – from novus [“new”]).

In other languages

  • Bahasa Indonesia: inovasikebaruan
  • بهاس ملايو
    • اينوۏاسي (inovasi)
    • ڤمبهارون (pembaharuan)
  • Cebuano: kabag-ohan
  • Deutsch: die Innovation
  • Español: la innovación
  • Filipino: pagbabago
  • Français: l’innovation (fem.)
  • 한국어: 혁신 (hyeogsin)
  • Italiano: le innovazione
  • ភាសាខ្មែរ: ការបង្កើតថ្មី (kar bangkeut thmei)
  • Latino: innovatio
  • မြန်မာဘာသာ: သစ်လွင်မှု (sait lwin mhu)
  • 日本語: 革新 (かくしん), 改革 (かいかく)
  • ພາສາລາວ: ຄວາມຄິດສ້າງສັນ (khuaamkhid sangsan)
  • ภาษาไทย: นวัตกรรม (nwạtkrrm)
  • தமிழ்: கண்டுபிடிப்பு (kaṇṭupiṭippu)
  • Tiếng Việt: sự đổi mới
  • 中文: 革新 (géxīn)

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