Innovation is the result of an exchange of information between
peopleindividuals with a stake in the success of a particular invention.
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 sellable 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
In either case, before innovation can happen, there
must be an actual concept, invention or novel use of existing knowledge.
Inventors first identify the problem they want to solve. Then they explore
and build upon previous knowledge, often by examining existing and expired
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) outlines the conditions
an inventor must meet for their creation to be considered an "invention,"
and provides a searchable database of Canadian patents. Likewise,
hosts a website Opportunity Match that provides by e-mail regular intelligence on
technology opportunities at Canadian universities, research centres, and
federal and provincial laboratories.
After confirming their idea is original, an inventor
focuses on the specifics: what they want to accomplish, their approach and
the actual physical act of inventing a prototype for patenting. The
application process helps inventors work through the steps required to secure a
patent and begin development. This is when an inventor begins to fully
explore the tangible potential of their original concept.
Before a new product or service can be commercialized
and marketed, it typically undergoes a period of refinement. Companies
examine the resources needed to integrate the invention, and existing
market conditions like competition and consumer demand. To deal with a
large number of potential innovations, many Alberta companies, like those
in the petroleum industry, utilize an
based on costs, rates, geographical factors and market issues to help them
calculate benefits and risks.
Once all avenues and possibilities have been explored
in the theoretical phase, and it is decided that it would be profitable to
proceed, entrepreneurs and organizations enter a research and development
phase. Industry professionals might be sought out to provide input in
their areas of expertise. Typically, innovators use this phase to secure
the financing needed to begin mass production and supply information to
prove their invention will have a positive impact on markets and society
as a whole.
Once the kinks have been worked out, proper promotion
can help take an invention from obscurity to common use. Trade shows,
industry fairs, and media and advertising campaigns provide support for
new inventions and make them accessible to a wider audience.
Finally, the process of innovation also allows for a
reflective step, where its impact on society is evaluated. Both the
expected and unexpected outcomes are taken into consideration. Often the
introduction of competition or changes in the market will shed light on an
innovation, generating new inventive ideas or possibilities for growing
and adjusting the existing technology. Thus, the process of innovation is
cyclical. Invention leads to innovation, which in turn inspires the
creativity needed to foster the inventive spirit.
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