Humankind's Greatest Innovation is the Power of Story

In these last five years, the word "innovation" has been used more than ever before, as people express reverence for the shiny silver Mac Airs and the ever slimming look of the mobile phone.

But in truth, there is just one innovation that has withstood the test of time, fought off wars and conflict, stood tall in the face of adversity and adapted itself to the different means by which it is conveyed. This is the power of story itself.

From a circle around a fire to words in a notebook to speeches from a battlefield to notes on a post-it to an Evernote file, the human story itself continues to show itself as the greatest innovation of all.

True innovation is useful, timely and adaptable. It is mobile, portable and democratic. It is not always used wisely or ethically, but it has the power to transform, uplift and delight. Story itself fits all descriptions of innovation.

From the child recounting the story of her school day to the teen writing a Facebook post to the worker sharing news of a breakthrough concept to the historian putting the past on record to the novelist putting heartbreak into prose to the poet helping us understand the depth of our emotion, the story serves its loyal, sturdy and stalwart purpose in the face of difficult times, challenges and adversity. They show love, courage, fear and hope and help us to know we are not alone.

In this technological age, when the tablet, the computer and the phone seem to be the innovations themselves, let us remember they are just the vehicles, just the tools for transmitting the great ideas and thoughts that come surging from within the individual.

Let us hold story close and make sure we value it in schools and in the home. Although we cannot visit a store to look at it in all its innovative glory, we can find it all around us, everywhere we go.