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What is the difference between Innovation, Invention and an Idea?

Creativity and Innovation

I am a big fan of the TV show Dragon’s Den (UK), also called Shark Tank (USA).

It is always entertaining to watch the inventors trying to get support for their new ideas and inventions, which they are convinced are going to change the world.

However, an invention is not the same as an innovation.

It is also significantly less likely to succeed than an innovation.

Invention is the development of a solution which is new.

It does not necessarily need to add any value. In fact, many inventions fail because they do not provide at least one of the three major components required for success: Desirability, Feasibility or Viability.

difference between innovation and invention

Innovation on the other hand is executing an idea which addresses a specific challenge and achieves value for both the company and customer.

A similar differentiation can also be made with ideas.

Ideas are new thoughts we have.

And Art is made up of ideas.

However, only creative ideas are both new and valuable.

Therefore, all innovations are creative, and all are made up of ideas.

But not all ideas are creative, or innovative.

Some Art and Inventions are also not creative, and will almost definitely not produce any change in the world.

Discovery is also completely separate from ideas. You can discover something which already existed but you were not expecting or which you did not come up with yourself. However, the discovery might then begin to trigger ideas, which eventually could result in creative innovations.

So if you ever see an invention which you just know will not work, it is probably because it is only an invention, not an innovation.

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