Innovation Illiteracy

Earlier this morning I tweeted the following:

Who said invention was easy? Oh, right. No one. Damn.

Then I read a great article from Horace Dediu about innovation illiteracy, something he coins as innoveracy. Horace said,

Rather than defining it again, I propose using a simple taxonomy of related activities that put it in context.

  • Novelty: Something new
  • Creation: Something new and valuable
  • Invention: Something new, having potential value through utility
  • Innovation: Something new and uniquely useful

To illustrate, here are some examples of the concepts.

  • Novelties: The choice of Gold as a color for the iPhone; the naming of a version of Android as “Kit Kat”; coining a new word.
  • Creations: The fall collection of a fashion designer; a new movie; a blog post.
  • Inventions: Anything described by a patent; The secret formula for Coca Cola.
  • Innovations: The iPhone pricing model; Google’s revenue model; The Ford production system; Wal-Mart’s store design; Amazon’s logistics.

I thought this a rather unique approach and was very happy to see that I had used the right word. Equals is an invention right now. With more time, I’m hoping it will prove an innovation as well.