Innovation is a value most companies and organizations embrace. But what does innovation truly represent?For some people, innovation is synonymous with invention, and they see it as any idea that feels new, different or exciting. That’s not a bad thing, and indeed, new ideas certainly have the potential for innovation.

Real innovation, however, means taking an idea and maximizing its potential. It happens when you develop and execute an idea in a way that changes how we think about an existing problem, process or application. Ultimately, innovation creates real change that benefits people, industry and society.

The power of innovation is clearly evident in the work being done at IDx, a University of Iowa spinout company based at the UI Research Park in Coralville.

As part of a UI Health Care presentation to the state Board of Regents during its June 6 meeting in Cedar Falls, one of our faculty members – Dr. Michael Abramoff, a professor in the UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and founder and president of IDx  gave an overview of the company’s breakthrough product.

That product, called IDx-DR, epitomizes innovation at work. In April, Dr. Abramoff and his IDx colleagues received U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorization to market IDx-DR, a medical device that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect diabetic retinopathy in adults who have diabetes.