When an idea changes the world
The term innovation comes from Latin and means ‘to renew.’ Colloquially, innovation stands for the creation of a new idea or invention and its commercial implementation. Experts speak of an innovation when a new idea is also implemented in products, services, or processes and has chanced on the market.
In economic theory, innovation is a targeted process of change toward something first, something “new,” which also influences the economy and society.
Invention not equal innovation
The concept of innovation must be distinguished from the invention, which does not necessarily have to be an innovation. Inventions are based on new ideas, including prototype construction or concrete concept development in the pre-market phase.
Experts only speak of innovation in the economic sense when its usefulness becomes apparent, and a product, production process or business model is introduced or changed accordingly. It may be that the benefit or value of an innovation is not discovered until much later. For example, many manufactured objects are dismissed as “nonsense” and useless at the moment of their creation, e.g., the computer. Only over time does it become apparent how useful or groundbreaking what has been manufactured can become.