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Invention and innovation: An introduction
Invention and innovation: An introduction

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10.1 What motivates individuals to invent?

It seems clear from the number of new patents applied for each year, and the many inventions that are not patented, that the level of inventive activity around the world is high. It's possible to identify a number of starting points for invention and new product development. For the purposes of this analysis I'll consider first what motivates individuals to invent and then what drives invention in organisations.

While economic incentives are behind the development and commercialisation of most innovations, most inventions are the product of inventors’ individual interests and motivations, creative thought processes and personal make-up.

Individuals invent usually because they have:

  • scientific or technical curiosity

  • constructive discontent

  • desire to make money

  • desire to help others.