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Invention Vs. Innovation

| On 01, Jan 2010

Message: 547
Posted by: Kelly
Posted on: Wednesday, 9th May 2007


Interesting comments here about the difference between invention and innovation: http://blogs.intel.com/it/2007/05/how_to_tell_an_invention_from.html

Innovation is no longer invention once it finds a “niche,” so it's different from the profitability disussion that's been talked about here, but this might be a better qualifier. Thoughts?


Message: 554
Posted by: Karthikeyan Iyer
Posted on: Tuesday, 15th May 2007


Going by the pure sense conveyed by the words, innovate is “to make new” with a hidden connotation “of something old”, whereas invent is to create something new. I believe “innovation” is closely linked to a function and invent is closely linked to an object. For example, the washing function was innovated by inventing a washing machine. You could innovate without needing to invent, if you use an existing object to perform a function in a new way. For example innovation of exercise by performing exercise under water. You could have a pure invention, which doesnt innovate any function (maybe create a brand new function) say a telescope. Or you could have both – innovation of a function through one or more inventions (say long distance communication innovated by inventing the microphone and the transmission line) or an invention serving multiple innovations (say invention of paper innovated written communication as well as packing).

With this definition, innovations/inventions become independent of the so called commercial factor or even the success factor. How much or how well an innovation is accepted by the general public may be a criteria to rate innovations/inventions but not to define them. I tend to believe that we can have innovations or inventions that are commercial failures or social failures (in terms of non-acceptance by the general public). We cannot have failed inventions or innovations in a functional sense because they would be eligible for qualification as inventions or innovations only when they meet their intended functions.