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The Innovation Ecosystem

Everyone has their own definitions of the two words invention and innovation. In my book the following are my definitions:

Invention is the creation of better or more effective products, services, processes, technologies or ideas.

Innovation is the acceptance of that invention by the market i.e. the invention creates value for which customers will pay.

Moving inventions through to the commercial benefit of becoming an innovation requires a whole community of contributors. Some very large corporations can contain that community of contributors within the one organisation and continue to grow their business through continual innovation. They have a contained innovation ecosystem and it can be very effective. These contained ecosystems are well worth studying, but they only explain some of the innovation spectrum.

Most innovation ecosystems go across many contributors to help commercialise ideas or inventions. The diagram above gives a notional overview of the categories of players and their contributions to innovation success. All of these groups play a vital role in the ecosystem. The relative importance depends on the nature of the invention and its’ stage of development.

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