In our study of innovation, I came across Wikipedia’s definition of innovation that is very insightful.  It states, “Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society. Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a new idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself.” (to see the entire article click here)

This is a very broad definition that may include ideas that one might not consider innovative, but it captures the idea that innovation is more than creativity or a new and exciting idea or concept.   Innovation requires acceptance by the user.  It may be a small group, or even a group inside your organization, but it is the acceptance of the invention that is the final link in innovation.

Edison's Vote Recorder

Edison recognized this when he attempted to make an electronic vote tabulator.  It was a new product that he thought would be well accepted, but he could not get a legislature to accept it.  What politician wanted a record of how they voted?  After this experience Edison recorded, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

So as you work on your invention, make sure you keep in mind the last step required for innovation. “Will my end user accept this product or idea?”  Considering the end utility of the idea early on may make all the difference.

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