Innovation and inventing
Innovation and inventing both result in a new way of solving a problem with inventing being more aligned to an entirely new product or method and innovation being more of an inventive way of improving something that already exists.
Governments and big business are being advised that innovation will push our country ahead if it is nurtured and promoted. As a sophisticated economy we are in a good position to improve with innovation. Products, services, procedures and practices can all be improved and streamlined with innovation which is easier to achieve than completely new systems, products or procedures that require inventing.
New inventions can often take a long time to develop whereas an innovation based on an existing practice will often be much faster to implement. One innovation can also lead to another and another which may form the basis of continuous improvement.
An example of the importance of continuous improvement is Toyota which removed a robotic assembly line in the eighties that was extremely efficient and working perfectly and replaced it with human workers! They did this seemingly backward move because there was very little chance of continuous improvement on a robotic line whereas humans can identify improvement and Toyota’s success depended on continuous incremental improvement.
A business model suggests that innovation is made up of two parts:
- Invention which is the creation of new knowledge
- Entrepreneurship which is the transformation of new knowledge into new value.
The Victorian Government has an innovation website where they say:
“Australia’s capacity to innovate – to create new knowledge, find new ways of doing business, and transform great ideas into great results – is the key to building a modern and competitive economy.”
Deloitte Accounting say:
“In the business world, there is a special kind of alchemy that differentiates innovative companies from those where innovation is simply ‘business as usual’.”
For inventors it can be easier to concentrate on innovative solutions rather than entirely new products/inventions because they will be easier to take up than a completely new product that is unknown to consumers. It takes a lot of marketing to convince consumers that a new product is worth purchasing while the effort to ask them to purchase a ‘better’ version of an existing product is much less.
Innovation can be an easier and more profitable way to channel the thoughts of an inventive mind and the task of selling or gaining an income from the idea is simpler and will produce faster results.
Inventors like to develop entirely new concepts, but innovative solutions to existing problems is also worth considering.
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