Using the right words can certainly tip the balance in your favor. Look at the highly charged debate over abortion. Those favoring abortion rights call themselves "pro choice" while abortion opponents call themselves "pro life." It's awfully hard to argue against either of those things.
Abortion opponents like to call proponents "pro murder" or talk about baby-killing. Abortion rights supporters accuse the anti-abortion movement of taking away a woman's right to choose. It's pretty hard to get on board with any of those things.
But if you use words too much or apply them too liberally, they can lose a lot of their meaning. Technology vendors are among the worst offenders when it comes to overusing the word "innovation" as I wrote a few weeks ago. At least some folks would likely argue that President Obama may have talked up innovation a bit too much in his recent weekly radio and Internet address, applying it to several of his favorite topics, including health care and clean energy. Still, it's hard to argue against Obama's call for applying more creative thinking to solving big problems. He said:
Innovation has been essential to our prosperity in the past, and it will be essential to our prosperity in the future.
With the idea of innovation fresh in my mind following Obama's address, I saw a list of 50 ways to foster a sustainable culture of innovation on The Heart of Innovation blog. I liked it right off the bat due to its emphasis right in the headline on creating a sustainable innovation culture. Too many people continue to see innovation as an unpredictable, one-off activity rather than a practice that can improve with the right people and processes behind it.
I won't try to list all 50 ways. (For that, you'll need to read the excellent original post.) But here are a few of my favorites from the list, a number of which I've touched upon previously in this blog. (My thoughts are in parentheses):
A number of these suggestions can and should be incorporated into "grassroots pilots" focused on innovation, a concept recommended by Gartner's Kathy Harris that I wrote about back in May.