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

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16 Part 3: Innovation

You can experience this free course as it was originally designed on OpenLearn, the home of free learning from The Open University: openlearn/ science-maths-technology/ engineering-and-technology/ design-and-innovation/ invention-and-innovation-introduction/ content-section-0 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

As you've seen above, many inventors have discovered that innovation – getting their ideas made and sold – is harder than invention. To bring an invention to the market there are a number of obstacles to overcome – technical, financial and organisational. The invention has to be made using appropriate materials and manufacturing processes depending on the nature of the product and the numbers required. Then, once an innovation is available to potential buyers, there are a number of factors that influence how well it will sell and how rapidly it is likely to diffuse. Factors affecting sales and diffusion include characteristics of the innovation itself, conditions of the market and any relevant regulations.

Finally, although innovations generally offer progress, some complement existing ways of doing things and have a sustaining effect for a technology or an industry. Some innovations though are more disruptive and can lead to significant changes in society.