Get Grok.

Rɘvolutionary by Design

Buzz Word Debrief: Innovation vs. Invention.

In use since the 16th century innovation has become one of the biggest buzz words in business during the last decade crescendoing into a deafening noise. Over used and over hyped, the word innovation itself has lost meaning. One of the most important unintended consequences is a lack of focus and understanding of the word invention vs. innovation.

Innovation is about taking an idea and making improvements to existing processes, products, or services. While invention is more of a creative process where one has insights beyond what is currently known and creates processes, products and services never seen before. There is a fine line between the two that can overlap.

Put more simply business investments to create ideas is a focus on invention and ideas that create a return on investment are innovations.

Invention vs. Innovation

So as you focus on trying to create innovation for your company don’t forget about the investment in creating ideas that must take place first. If you truly want to be innovative start by thinking about how to invest in becoming inventive first.

“The abuse of words like innovation, disruption, game changing and breakthrough is killing us. We’re tripping over our own egos, lost in the ignorance of romance for the vagaries of pseudo-thinking associated with these words. The more often people in a company use this word, the less likely anything worthy of that label is actually happening, as it’s often the confused and the desperate who believe simply saying a word again and again like a magic spell causes anything at all to happen.” – Scott Burkenα


  1. Source: 52 Weeks of UX