Viewpoints on Innovation

Foundation for Open Innovation, Part 1: Invention vs. Innovation

Strategy Process Improvement Organizational Effectiveness Industrial Manufacturing

How many times have you heard from a co-worker - “I’m not a scientist or engineer; I can’t innovate.” This frame of mind frustrates many forward thinking managers and stands in the way of systematic creative work, especially in technical environments. One way to address this mindset occurred to me while reviewing work by a noted innovator, David Pensak.

Let’s start with two definitions:

  • Invention - discovering something new to the world
  • Innovation - using knowledge that already exists in a different way 

With these in mind, the role of a scientist is often to invent.  If you think about it, beyond that, few others in your organization truly invent. 

Yet, everyone can innovate. These definitions provide a very powerful approach to change people’s frame of mind and enable all employees to innovate and to think about innovating. Application engineers do this every day in a very practical sense. As a manager, you win when every member of your team seeks opportunities to experiment with new approaches that have the potential to improve aspects of performance.  

What’s your view? Do these definitions resonate with you? Try applying them to your business and share your feedback. Part 2 of this series will cover where breakthrough ideas come from.

Originally published on November 3rd, 2011

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Topics: Blog, Innovation, Innovation Articles, Michael Glessner, Open Innovation, PLM, Product Development, Product Innovation, Product Lifecycle Management, Social Networking, Social Product Development, Social Product Innovation, Spike, Strategy

About the Author

Michael Glessner

Michael Glessner

Michael is a Director with Kalypso. His areas of expertise include new product development, business and innovation strategy, large-scale organizational change leadership, and open innovation. Michael recently restored a 1969 Camaro that he has owned for years.
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