It's Not a Bird, It's Not a Plane...Uh, No. It's IBM's Innovation Man

My colleagues Jena McGregor and Aili McConnon found a funny video clip of a new IBM commercial, featuring an awkward character in an ill-fitting cape, mask, and leotard — Innovation Man. The character seems to be based on an anecdote that Jena used last year (in 2007) as the lede for her annual story on the “Most Innovative Companies”.

You can see the clip in Italian (but not English on YouTube):

If you don’t parla Italiano, you can see a clip in English, posted on this blogger’s site.

The IBM ad is a jab at empty innovation-speak and the I-word itself.

Beyond its humor—made even funnier in the context of the real-life Innovation Man that Jena wrote about in the pages of BusinessWeek last year— the ad’s meant to jab those companies and executives who toss the I-word about as jargon but don’t follow through, too.

I actually like to ask interviewees how they define innovation when they start throwing it around without really explaining how their ideas are “innovative.”

How do you define the I-word? Has the definition changed in the last two years?

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.