Lucy Kellaway Golden Flannel Day 5: Martin Lukes Creovation Cup

Some readers may remember Martin Lukes, the late CEO of a-b glöbâl, who tragically died three years ago when skydiving as part of a team building exercise.
The jargon-spouting executive, who wrote a column in the FT about his life and works, was most famous for coining the term “creovation”, part creativity and part innovation, but more blue sky than either.
Since then there have been a thousand imitators, who have taken two perfectly good words and put them together to make an ugly monstrosity that means nothing at all. General Electric was the first to copy Martin Lukes when it created a whole movement based on something called “Ecomagination”, which was pretty good, though not quite as creovative as the original.
This year’s entries are as follows:

Iconicity.

This comes from Quartz and co, a Nordic management consultancy, which proudly describes it as “a self-invented word referring to the iconic moments that we experience externally as well as internally. It combines various combinations of Magnitude, Courage and Coolness.” On closer inspection this word didn’t invent itself at all: it existed anyway. Had Quartz checked on Google it would have found that iconicity is a linguistics term and is something to do with “rejective phono-semantic matching”. So now you know.

Edgenuity.

This is the triumphant rebranding of a form of online education. “The new brand reflects the innovative, student-centered approach the company is taking towards delivering truly personalized learning”, its inventor writes. In the scale of things, this might not seem too bad. But I have included it for the desperate attempt to make a few online courses sound edgy and hip.

Stakebrokers.

This new word was dreamed up by APCO Worldwide, a communications consultancy, and refers to “a group of highly engaged individuals who act and think in ways that differentiate them from traditional influencers… From their 360-degree view, stakebrokers are highly engaged and influential individuals and broker information and influence to both the masses and elites.” The only good thing about this is that such “highly engaged individuals” were formerly described as “thought leaders”. Perhaps with the advance of the stakebroker, the dreaded TL will be in retreat.