Thickening the Thin Line between Invention and Innovation

Successfully distinguishing between innovation and invention is quite synonymous to looking for a needle in a haystack as most people struggle to separate the strand that connects these two concepts together.

This is even more so as these two words and their contextual meanings are often used as synonyms of each other perhaps because of the endorsement of the definitions given to them by most dictionaries.

However, more cogently, the word ‘invention’ simply means ‘to create or originate something- process or product- that has not existed before’. This definition explains and draws the boundary line of what ‘invention’ contently entails. In other words, an invention is and must be a creation or an origination of something that yet exists.

On the other hand innovation simply means ‘to make changes or introduce something new – methods, ideas and so on – in something that’s already established. That is, introducing or making changes in something that’s been created or originated- invention.

Therefore, looking at it from a crystal view, invention comes before innovation. It is what gives basis to the existence of innovation in the first place. Invention is like a founder or pioneer whereas innovation is successor.

By my definition, ‘Innovation’ ‘is act of making-up or adding-up to an already invented or existing product, a later discovered and necessitated requirement (s). This add-up or make up could be change(s) in the process but not the overall product and it could affect the outward appearance of the product or the inward part’.

In plain terms, innovation can be said in today’s word to mean the ‘sustainer’ of inventions. It is what sustains or upholds the already erected or established works of inventions. This could be done via various strategic means like upgrades and updates and so on as it affects either the software or hardware aspect of the product or device for a higher efficiency and a better effectiveness.

This is done most times in light of increasing the spectrum and marketability of such products as demonstrated and reflected in the managerial practices of most organization. In fact, innovation can be seen as an adaptive management technique which is designed to address the complexities that are yet to be resolved in the already created products or processes.

On another note, the reciprocal of the above could be the case; that is, where or when there is no invention in existence, innovation becomes what makes up for the existing gap or short comings in meeting requirement(s) or demand(s) of peoples’ need which may eventually graduate to an invention.

In conclusion, invention happens once but innovation happens continuously. Innovation births a form advancement or enhancement to what invention’s already created. This is what thickens the thin line that lies between the two concepts.


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