At the recent E2.0 Forum, I described a particular dynamic I've found: there is no set definition of innovation. It's a concept where everyone has an intuitive sense of what innovation is, but would have a hard time formalizing a definition. Much like the way U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart described pornography:
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.
Sure there are dictionary definitions. Merriam Webster defines innovation as: "the introduction of something new." But that's really not satisfying. Just because something is new, is it really an innovation? If everything new is an innovation, nothing is.
On the flipside, in popular culture and the business press there is a common view that innovation is all-disruption, all-the-time. Radical technologies and overthrowing incumbents with new business models are the primary definition of innovation. Makes for great articles, but has the effect of excluding many other types of innovation.