One question on the agenda at Last Monday’s Moxie Session asked if the word innovation means anything.

The discussion was about the state of innovation in New Zealand, so this wasn’t a simple matter of semantics.  The consensus around the table was that it does mean something.

One memorable quote:

Innovation doesn’t equal invention

Sadly I didn’t record who said that. The idea is a good jumping off point. If it isn’t invention, what is it?

The answer, and I’m paraphrasing here, is innovation goes beyond just having a good idea, it is as much about implementing the idea. Innovators need to package their good ideas in ways that make them practical for others to use, this also means getting the product to market.

One thought on “Innovation doesn’t equal invention

  1. Innovation to me means significant original progress.

    You can invent something that isn’t innovative and you can innovate without inventing; Apple has been doing it for a while. Like Tek Syndicate say, Apple take the ingedients other people invent and make a nice recipe to turn it into a consumer-facing product.

    I think innovation in NZ isn’t supressed by legislation (afaik), but from society itself in the opinions people have toward that sort of thing coming out of NZ. A good example is your previous article where it was mentioned that some NZ company wouldn’t take in NZ developers for their software, solely based on the fact that they were NZ’ers and assumed we couldn’t innovate or compete.

    That kind of view towards invention and innovation – mixing things up a bit – should’ve happened naturally from our DIY no8 wire heritage. I’m no history teacher so I don’t know exactly what happened, but we need to start getting kids tinkering with stuff in schools again; sponsored lego/robot/programming/mechanics… just get kids toying around. If they don’t get the opportunity then how are they going to realise their love for the DIY lifestyle and earn a can do attitude?

    The other thing would be making sure facilities are there for people to turn this into jobs. Innovation doesn’t come from a flowchart or a board meeting, it comes from people who are passionate about what they know enough that it blurs the line between job and hobby; Bill Gates only left his job because he had to, I’m sure Jonny Ive didn’t stare at the clock at 4:50pm every day.

    The first would be infrastructure we have started on, but we need to make sure people can use it, and use it for what they want. This means fair prices and Net Neutrality. This means giving a NZ a fair start so they don’t have to go to the US or UK to be heard.

    Make sense?

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