Evolution or Innovation?

I've been thinking about evolution and innovation lately.  What is the line that separates one from the other?  Dictionary.com tells us that evolution is any process of formation or growth; development; a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive growth or development; whereas, innovation is defined as something new or different introduced. 

To me this means that innovation IS evolution because it's a process of growth.  But then again if you rely on the second definition of evolution it must be gradual or peaceful growth.  If innovation occurs abruptly or disruptively, it is only innovative and not evolved. 

So is it better to be peacefully evolved or disruptively innovative?  Oh, but how many sides of this coin exist!  How many people get to vote on the idea being new? Who gets to make the judgment that it's a peaceful progression. 
  • A beaver builds a dam. That's peaceful to the beaver but could be disruptive to the hiking trails.  
  • An engineer builds a dam.  That's disruptive to the beaver and the rafter but is peaceful to the company profiting. Is it innovative?  Dams aren't new ideas, but dams created by humans to make power were certainly new and different. 
The most commonly sourced example of innovation is within the music industry. 
  • The CD evolved from the record, but Napster disrupted record stores and the lives of the kids caught downloading music illegally.  Innovation. 
  • iTunes evolved from CDs and evolved into the iPod.  Eventually this evolves or innovates with the cell phone, bringing us the iPhone.  Is this disruptive to the cell phone industry or is it an evolution of the cell phone industry? 
What about other electronics:
  • TVs have evolved from B&W tubes to color tubes to LCDs to BlueRays to HD to 3D.  Because it's progressive does it mean it's not innovative? It's not new if 3D movies already exist. But they don't exist in your home yet. 
  • Consumer goods company Kimberly-Clark has introduced the first tube-free toilet paper option.  Innovative or evolved? It is a new idea on an old product. It's a peaceful progression. Can it be both?  And if this is both, why wouldn't the TV example be both too?  
I bet you disagree with me on at least one of my examples. And that's exactly why this discussion comes up so often.  Where is the panel of judges to determine what makes the cut to innovative? And who determines who these judges are?

Animals, humans, and other natural species evolve over time. Usually to survive.  Is evolution better than innovation because it keeps you alive vs keeps your pockets full of fast cash?   Or is innovation better than evolution because so much weight is put on by society to find the new idea and the next best thing?  Innovation may more likely be a product of egos wanting economic profit than is by true necessity.


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