The Difference Between Invention & Innovation in Business

Thomas Grasty is Co-Founder of Stroome ( In this video he talks about the difference between invention and innovation.

  • Invention: creation of a product or process
  • Innovation: placing product or process in a new context
  • Most entrepreneurs innovate rather than invent

Invention and innovation are often two concepts that are confusing because they tend to get melded together. So, let’s define.

Invention is, in its purest sense is creation of a product or processed for the first time. An example of that might be say the PC. The PC was clearly something new. The new product and they created an entirely new market.

Invention on the other hand-- or innovation on the other hand is placing that product or a product or process into a new context. The best example of innovation is really the iPod because if you think about it, the iPod wasn’t the first music device out there. It wasn’t the first time you could buy songs online. But it was the first time that you could have something that fit in your pocket that was ergonomically cool, easy to use and integrated immediately into an ecosystem where you could fill it with the music. That was the true innovation of Steve Jobs’ Apple. And that’s the iPod.

It’s interesting because most entrepreneurs are innovating rather than inventing. I think the reason for this is that they’re tend to be creating products or creating services for existing market places and servicing needs that have been overlooked rather than creating them altogether. Where’s in invention is to create an entirely new market and that’s tends to be what entrepreneurs shall away from because they are reading the situation rather than creating a new.