An inventor may develop an idea, but it is the innovator who takes action, finds a unique application, and incorporates it into a larger system of existing knowledge.
At the most basic level, successful inventions make day-to-day life easier and more efficient. On a larger scale, inventions move the seemingly impossible into the realm of the possible. The intellectual and creative journey undertaken to find answers to functional problems and practical questions encompasses the human inventive spirit.
It takes a person with great vision to not only see the possibilities within in a specific idea, but also to transform it into an invention or, eventually, an innovation. Inventors are risk-takers and critical thinkers. They share a curiosity about the human condition. The same artistic impulse that inspires painters and poets drives many inventors to move beyond the pursuit of new knowledge, and to construct useful tools that improve our quality of life.
Innovation is the result of an exchange of information and ideas between people. Some innovators divide the process into a series of carefully described steps, beginning with an idea and strictly following a series of guidelines to generate a marketable product or service. They may even approach the creative process in this structured way, making detailed lists of ideas and theories.
Others see innovation as an organic process, involving constant feedback and revisions. They bounce ideas back and forth, engage in brainstorming sessions, and encourage constructive criticism of their ideas.
In either case, for useful innovations to occur, existing knowledge and resources must be used in new, creative, and unexpected ways.
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