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, 4 Jan 2007 @ 6:02pm


    I don't those that stood to help me although I now that buisness as it goes there are breaking peaont I also both you and gloogles are no angeles nor I, but I do foll ow the las as they stat and you would be a fool if you didn't. Win loss or draw if you try your best to stay in sided the law amd not skirt it boarders for that as well is as much as playing russ ruolt and why would anyone that worked hard and the year in to take chances . I see no point. I would rather gop the horse track ,your odds are not much defferent exept if you win there you legaly camit and there no repercutions . Bisides to where tect is headed the system is going to take some fance stuff and brains alot . but there will be a cat and dog game atlest tell money is no longer an issue or needed and I know your thinking that will neever happen . Yes in our life time no . happen yes. That beside what what I came to ask, are you intersested in a partner arrangmen and so it knowen UI was thinking Googles and lenx but I can to it though libarys also there some things that wount be a licenses but would help as my own working as privetly and thats the goverment if they need me and NASA and Privet companies. If googles is to much which would be a great benafit to all and they helped me to , Yes I now of some of there doings but I look at this waythey lowered there gaurd for the moment in help and that show more than many .Yes I know there where others and thou they did it was show and nothing but and had the hand in the pie. I would change that gov. Gov to It that way it covers the interst of my doing and it about righ a in leaveling. There is seveal things I need to talk on as a lawer what do I have left and outher things so I and all can work and I cand just slip out of there exsitance. So if in terested I do wich to speak top blogers for there going to be the desision makers or who ever it may be and sence my email is on a dive I come back to thes sigh in a whileand may be there will have some news here or call PH 209-474-1913 thank you Michael A Wandersee

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