Innovation is a buzzword that we often see applied in a variety of contexts, from technology to healthcare, but it can also easily be overused. The reality is that genuine innovation is as rare as it is bold, no matter the industry in which it occurs. In aesthetic medicine, we are seeing the rapid evolution of new products, devices, and procedures. This evolution is both the result of and has ushered in new understandings of the subtle aesthetics of beauty. But what, truly, does innovation mean in our field, and what is the value of an innovator?
Innovation cannot be encapsulated by a mere definition, but is perhaps a delicate balance of sensibilities. For example, being an innovator doesn't mean fearlessly stepping into new realms of treatment or technique without due consideration for patient safety and scientifically sound practice. At the same time, it is equally important not to be so quick to dismiss innovation, even if it is rooted more in theory than in evidence-based practice. So while we should demand peer review and quality evaluation, we should also promote think tanks and creative thinking from colleagues, residents, and fellows. No matter how much experience we gain, we are never too advanced to learn from colleagues. And since real innovation often requires a willingness to fail, which is hard for most of us, we should avoid the inclination to smother new ideas.
In this edition of Modern Aesthetics, thought leaders from various vantage points in cosmetic medicine lend their voices to the discussion of what innovation means to them. The variety of perspectives expressed in the articles ahead—as well as the unique ideas in them—instruct us that innovation is not limited to science or new uses of technology, but also encompasses communication and education. The true spirit of innovation is perhaps better expressed by the collaborative nature of what we learn and do in practice. Thus, the emphasis of much of the content in this issue is not necessarily about becoming an innovator, but about embracing innovation of different types and being willing to employ these innovations in a way that benefits our patients and our businesses. Innovations are key for us to stay ahead of the curve as a specialty, and while not everyone can be an innovator in the classic sense, each one of us plays a critical role in facilitating the broader innovations of our field.