The Renaissance freed the minds of men and women, unleashing a wave of creativity and the formation of new insights arising from and leading to a better understanding of the world (Isaak and Just, 1995, 281-326).
The term 'Innovation' is closely related to another word with which it has often been interchanged or confused: 'Invention'. Markedly different in etymology but slightly similar in meaning, invention (from the Latin venire which means 'to come upon' or 'to find') is the process of creating or devising something new (Collins, 1991, 811). Offhand, we see why it is easy to confuse these two words: both mean doing something new.
However, the 20th century usage of the terms 'invention' and 'innovation' by businesses has led to the development of a fine distinction in meaning to which most people agree: an 'innovation' is an 'invention' that creates economic value and wealth and that results in transformation. It can therefore be said that innovation is the successful and wealthier sibling of invention. Innovation is most succinctly defined as the 'successful exploitation of new ideas' (DTI, 2003, 9) and may be applied to products, business models, philosophies, ideologies, scientific findings, and any other reality the human mind creates, and to which could be attributed a certain measure of success in the form of dissemination, widespread belief, or the creation of wealth.
One of the first in the modern era to relate innovation to wealth creation is Schumpeter (1939), who never used the word directly but attributed the economic effects of the introduction of a new good, a new method of production, opening of new markets, the conquest of new sources of raw materials, and the carrying out of new organisations in any industry. Technical and product advances were part of Schumpeter's concept of innovation, but it was only a small part, meaning that innovation does not always mean technical inventions but finding new ways of doing things.
This view is shared by Drucker (1985, p. 33-35), for whom innovation is an economic or social terminology, rather than a purely scientific and technical term, describing it as the driver of entrepreneurship which he defined as a new way of doing business. He links innovation with entrepreneurship as the driving force that creates businesses to sell new products to new or existing markets and, in the process, create wealth by adding convenience to customers in new ways.
Examples of innovations in the 20th century were instalment payments for farm machineries that allowed farmers to be more productive or the development of container ships that cut down shipping costs and increased world trade. In both cases, the invention of an idea led to wealth creation and became an innovation. Though all innovations proceed from inventions, not all inventions are innovations as only those inventions that create wealth can rightly be called innovations (Pisano, 2006).
Innovation and Creativity
Innovation and invention are both rooted in creativity which is its underlying element. Understanding creativity, what brings it about and how it could be sustained, allows us to delve more deeply into