Too much, already

At Chris Pirillo’s blog, John Blue asks, What does “innovation” really mean and what can I do to become “more innovative”? I have an idea but what do I do next? How do I find innovative people? How can my company be more innovative?

In the comments I reply,

  Invention is what matters.
  Those that can, invent. Those that can’t, innovate. Those that won’t, talk about it.

This is unfair and wrong to folks like John, who do a lot of creative thinking about innovation. I’m just tired of hearing the word beaten like a drum.


  1. Dan’s avatar

    Personally I think invention (creating something out of nothing) and innovation (taking something and making it better) are two completely different skills/traits. Some people can do both. Some are only good at one. Others probably can’t do either of them.

  2. Kevin Marks’s avatar

    They say ‘innovation’, I hear ‘enervation’. Innovative is a way of saying ‘new’ by adjectiving a verbed adjective; anyone who does that likes obscuring the new.

  3. David Pascoe’s avatar

    I have seen a definition of “innovation” wherein one has to actually solve an existing problem to qualify. It would be well under control if this was happening with all the innovations we hear about today. Invention, while very nice, doesn’t actually have this need.

  4.   Invention et innovation — Blog à Moua’s avatar

    […] ne peuvent pas, innovent. Et ceux qui ne peuvent pas innover, passent le temps à en parler.” Doc Searls […]

  5. Nikolaj Nyholm’s avatar

    I think that I on a good day could subscribe to David Pescoe’s definition of innovation. It rhymes well with what I once heard Edmund Phelps say, namely that innovation has no value unless it makes it into the market.

    I’d still prefer to have the word scrapped altogether. 😉


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