The terms invention and innovation have become noticeably vague in the age of information, and defining their separate characteristics has become quite the challenge. Yet, business executives on a global scale almost unanimously rank innovation, not invention, as one of their top priorities – especially in a world where things change almost as quickly as it takes to post a twitter update.
So what is the difference between invention and innovation? The answer is subtle, and Jacob Morgan has made the effort to explain it fully.
Jacob Morgan Answers the Innovation vs. Invention Question
Jacob Morgan, globally recognized thought leader on the future of work and bestselling author, attempts to define these two concepts in a web series dedicated to the Innovation Ecosystem. In his own words, invention creates the ability to do something, whereas innovation takes that created ability and allows it to scale so that it forms a market impact.
He offers up two important examples: Google Glass and the Apple iPhone. Google Glass is a brilliant invention, because it gave consumers the ability to do something brand new without having much market impact at the outset. On the other hand, the iPhone is a remarkable innovation, because it built upon existing technologies and scaled up to reach a wide audience.
So, simply defined. Invention is creation of abilities, and innovation is invention plus impact. Therefore, when executives claim to prioritize innovation, they don’t want just to create new technologies, they want it to make an enormous impact in the market. Inventions alone aren’t game changers, they have the potential to be, but they need innovators in order to reach that broader audience.
Read more at Forbes.
What is your perspective on this subject? What do you consider to be innovative, and what to do think is merely inventive.