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Innovation

Discussion in 'English Only' started by foucrazyfoucrazy, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. foucrazyfoucrazy

    foucrazyfoucrazy Senior Member

    Canada
    English, Canada
    Hello all,

    I am a little confused about the definition of 'innovation' as opposed to invention.
    Could innovation be described as "taking something already in existence and making it better", while invention is the creation of something altogether new?

    Thank you very much in advance for any advice you can give,
    Fou[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    With no context to work with, we are limited to vague generalities.

    Your suggestion is certainly plausible. Note, however, that an innovation may well be synonymous with an invention.
     
  3. PMS-CC Senior Member

    I agree with cuchuflete.

    In my anthropology classes, I teach my students that innovations come in two flavors: primary innovation (the discovery or invention of a radically different technique, such as fire or electricity) and secondary innovation (a new object or process derived from previously existing innovations).

    So, in this case, innovation is usually "taking something already in existence and making it better," although it also includes the sense of creation contained within "invention."
     
  4. foucrazyfoucrazy

    foucrazyfoucrazy Senior Member

    Canada
    English, Canada
    Sorry.

    This is the context in which I am trying to use it:

    [FONT=&quot]"Puck, the fairy prankster in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was by no means an original invention of Shakespeare’s. It would be more appropriate to call Shakespeare’s Puck an ‘innovation’ – taking something already in existence and making it better – for this is what the Bard of Avon did.[/FONT]"

    I realize the wording is a little wrong, since innovation is not a verb, but a noun. I'm working on fixing that, but for right now, I just want to be sure I have the general argument right.
     
  5. PMS-CC Senior Member

    That seems fine to me, foucrazy!
     
  6. foucrazyfoucrazy

    foucrazyfoucrazy Senior Member

    Canada
    English, Canada
    Hurray! Thank you for your help :D
     
  7. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I like it, fcfc. I would drop the word 'original' unless you believe most inventions are purloined.
     
  8. foucrazyfoucrazy

    foucrazyfoucrazy Senior Member

    Canada
    English, Canada
    Good point. Thank you :)
     
  9. Thomas Veil Senior Member

    English - USA
    An invention is a physical object. The telegraph, for instance, was an invention. An innovation is an abstract concept. The idea of transmitting information through electricity was an innovation.
     
  10. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    This is a very narrow, and not universally accepted, definition of invention. For many people, and many dictionaries, as well as patent offices, an invention may be a process as well as an object.

    An invention may be a device. An invention may be a process.
     

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