In practice it is sometimes difficult to recognise the difference between invention and innovation.
- If you have come up with a unique idea for a product or process, that idea is an invention.
- If you have come up with an application for an invention that leads to commercialisation, that application is innovation.
So while innovation can lead an individual or company to increased growth and profitability, it is unique inventions that will deliver new products and processes.
Companies can gain great traction in the marketplace by having a strong R&D team that is constantly reviewing current products and processes for quality and/or service efficiencies. Such a company can be said to be innovative – think telecommunications and software design.
Launching entirely new products and inventions into the market takes skills and experience – an understanding of the marketplace, consumer sentiment and product lifecycles.