Innovation Is More Important Than Invention

from the continuing-the-debate dept

We recently posted an MIT Tech Review story looking at the return of "inventors" instead of innovators. The article named the well known "great inventors" from a century ago. In the comments, someone properly took me to task for simply parroting the line about these inventors, when most of the stories about their "inventions" were mythical. Now, Michael Schrage (again at MIT's Tech Review) is arguing convincingly that for all the hype around inventors, innovation is much more important - and (more importantly) is entirely separate from invention. He names the same "inventors" named in the original article and points out that the truth of the matter is that they were all innovators rather than inventors (and its only the distance of history that has rewritten their stories as if they were inventors). He points out that invention has nothing to do with commercial success - whereas innovation has everything to do with it. Furthermore, this ties into the ongoing debate over patent reform: "If you want to learn about the importance of "invention" over the past 300 years, talk to the lawyers. If you want to hear about the importance of "innovation," however, talk to anyone else." So, the real question then, is whether or not our intellectual property system should be encouraging invention or innovation? I'd vote for innovation, as that's what drives the economy, and that would suggest we need fewer lawyers involved with the patent system, and perhaps more innovators. The following point is also important: "the technical excellence of an invention matters far less than the economic willingness of the customer or client to explore it." In other words, any system designed to encourage innovation needs to encourage actually making use of the innovation - and not, for example, sitting on a patent and doing nothing with it, while waiting for others to innovate and then hitting them with a patent infringement lawsuit.

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  1. identicon
    michael a wandersee, 23 May 2007 @ 12:47pm

    innovations to inventions

    I would say that laying the ground floor to a system is of the most important fact of where it is that I wish to make a starting to the road work that is in my mind giving the oppertunity to work just about any new,old, future consept a working chances. Not only that but a fesable work test to the oppertunaty to suggesses is is the second fact that I'v made in to a plasable fact of reconizing it's fesabilaty, and as closes to 100% is the fact to attemting. The frist is still working into a exseptional fact of the efin at oppertunaties of being able to apply almost any idea, the second is still a fact to a working on more as to just bare omounts of work has been applied into,yet it is coming for it the first I wish to accomplish frist for its that important. Thou the second is just important and will matter as in importants as the first. If not consedered as such I wouldn't think that appling any and all consepts would work and would be more to disruptions as is is in sink as in one for the cot come is the combining of the third which realy is the second and the third is the testing. So the second is the pushing though the hole system as to study building making lean and many other facts that are to numrus to mention but then the test and then the truth in the all as in a complete bundel. The whole is the key to building to just about any idea that you may interpet as what is to end in a fact of favorable workings and to a better working idea then started or not a fesable fact of applying of the information that was applied at the start and can be worked in maybe another manner. This is also one of the fact I'm working to see to an a automatic ajusting in the building and ajusting to the concepted. All and all it is to be the prossing of any idea and with a giving of information to what is an idea and the giving of a chance to a working end, it also will,as I see it bring in a infanate amout of imaginations of ideas of which will be no to small or to large but a devlopment into infanate creativaty,with a personal understanding of no critasisem and that will m,ean as stated a rang never seen before. In my opinion,and my working to completion and aquirering this and more is the plan. Michael A. Wandersee Innovator to Cybrospaces. It is also a never ending project for better is always a fact that is a constand developing fact and pushing the futur and beyond,and that it is all way in the constant developing of the best and making it for to day.

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