The Difference Between Innovation And Invention

from the important-lessons... dept

For all the talk about protecting innovation, we’ve often pointed out that the patent system seems to do the exact opposite — making it more difficult for those who are actually innovating, while giving money to those who haven’t done anything at all. Last year, Michael Schrage wrote an interesting piece pointing out the very important differences between invention and innovation, where he noted that innovation is more important — but the patent system is more about protecting invention. Basically, plenty of people or companies who “invented” an idea were never able to capitalize on the idea at all. It took others who actually innovated and built off that idea to make a product that actually had an impact on the world. Helping to prove that point are a bunch of example cases where the initial inventor of something wasn’t the one to make it valuable. In a market driven economy, the real winner is the company that can make something valuable through innovation — not the inventor who happens to come up with something that the market may or may not want.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “The Difference Between Innovation And Invention”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Abiodun says:

Invention vs Innovation

Creativity is seeing what everyone sees and thinking what no one else has thought before. Invention is transforming these new thoughts into tangible ideas. Innovation is introducing these ideas to the end-user. Innovation is channeling creativity (managing its application i.e. invention) so as to produce ideas/products that people can and wish to use (i.e. marketable).

For an invention, the focus is on novelty and this is a key criterion for patenting. In other words, it must be new to its field all over the world. Innovation on the other hand does not have to be new except in a specific situation. Thus, as long as a firm (for instance) is having something for the first time, it is innovative in their context irrespective of whether it is new to their industry, country or the world.

Characteristically, an invention is anything that is novel and potentially practically applicable; an innovation is essentially novel, practically applicable and introduced to the market. Thus innovation may be seen as equal to invention plus exploitation i.e. invention plus commercialization and/or application of new knowledge in production in a particular environment.

Sam says:

Re: Invention vs Innovation

Abiodun, i agree with most of what you have written apart from this part ‘Invention is transforming these new thoughts into tangible ideas. Innovation is introducing these ideas to the end-user. ‘

this implies that invention is an early stage and innovation is the end stage, however I think that an invention and innovation both introduce a new product/idea etc to the end-user, not just innovation.

Ms. Howard says:

Understanding the difference between Innovation an

I do understand what you are trying to say. In terms of the statements about Invention is transforming these new thoughts into tangible ideas and Innovation is introducing these ideas to the end-user. I believe that persons are misinterpreting what you are trying to say when what you really mean is that; an invention is more of a manufactured idea or product while an innovation is more of an idea that may or may not be a manufactured idea or product.

Amit says:

Innovation,Invention and Entrepreneurship

I think
Invention is a scientific fact
Innovation is an economic fact
and Hence Entrepreneurhip is the Sum of Innovation and Invention. E=2I
And It is an Entrepreneur who makes money out of Innovationa and Invention
Gramhaphone is a Invention
i-pod or i-phone is a Innovation and
making money is an Entrevation

Amit Jain

Ccott Carpenter says:

invention vs. innovation

I agree with Abiodun’s observation. My question however is if one is an inventor and wishes to become an innovator, what would be the recommended course of action. Seems that inventors sell the patents for pennies only to witness them making others wealthy. I am personally living this decison today. I have developed a technology that in my world is a revolutionary advantage to the manufacturing world. Unfortunately, I am not an innovator and therefore not able to deliver my product to a captured audience. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Ron Martinez (profile) says:

Re: your question

Invention carries with it the connotation of developing or designing something that may or may not be delivered to the marketplace, or if delivered, may not be successful in the marketplace, but which may still be patented. Look up patents to understand the role they play in providing some measure of protection to those who come up with original designs. Note also that not everyone agrees with the concept that someone may “own an idea.” (This is a mis-statement of what a patent is, but there are reasonable people who disagree with the patent system, in any event.)

Innovation is simply to create or introduce something new.

This article maybe didn’t clarify because in fact, invention IS a form of innovation. What the author is going for here is a distinction that defines invention as “innovating for the purposes of obtaining a patent,” and defines innovation as “innovating for the purposes of delivering successful products.” As I’ve written elsewhere, I think this redefinition of terms is merely confusing, though I understand the intent. And as others have commented, innovation and invention are closely interrelated.

I hope this helps!


Ron Martinez (profile) says:

Invention vs. Innovation

I know this is an older thread, but would like to add that it is equally useful to look at the relationship possible between invention and innovation – a virtuous circle that amplifies the value in both patentable invention and product innovation.

By the way, disagree with the definition. Both patentable invention and new product formulations can be correctly called “innovation.” The narrowing of the term to apply only to product innovation strikes me as unnecessary and muddying, not clarifying. Better: patentable invention and product innovation. Always best to trade malformed pith for clarity.

K moe min says:

Innovation Vs invention

Invention is only the first step in a long process of bringing a good idea to widespread and effective use. Being a good inventor is no guarantee of commercial success. Most of the inventions are ended up in the laboratories and never come out to commercial use.

novation is the successful exploitation of the new ideas.
Companies achieve competitive advantage through acts of innovation. They approach innovation in its broadest sense , including both new technologies and new ways of doing things

samueal j awani says:

posibility offer for the best interest of both parties

I’m an inventor with creativity, my ideas are 100% of a product. Which can make value and interest from the public.

If a company offers a posiblity of accepting a product as they have seen the potential image of the ideas. What can the inventor do to exstblich a more favourable/friendly enviroment for himself before the company?

Rana Saeed says:

Gc University Faisalabad Pakistan

Invention vs innovation:- It is developed with the connotation of development or design something that can not be provided or were on the market, or if recovered, could not succeed in the market, but still can not be patented. The role of patents in providing some protection for those who come up with original artwork understand they play. Note that all agree with the idea that anyone can do “to the idea.” (This is a misrepresentation of what a patent, but reasonable people who disagree with the patent system, in any case.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...