Difference Between Invention and Innovation

Main Difference – Invention vs Innovation

Although invention and innovation both refer to the introduction of something new, there is a difference between them in the fields of technology and business. An invention is a novel product, device, process, or concept. Although innovation is also defined as a new product, concept or process, in the vocabulary of business and technology, it is defined as the introduction of newer and better solutions that meet new requirements or existing market needs. Therefore, the main difference between invention and innovation is that invention involves creating something entirely new whereas innovation involves improving an existing product or concept. 

This article explores in detail,

1. Definition and Meaning of Invention with Examples

2. Definition and Meaning of Innovation with Examples

3. Comparison and Key Differences Between Invention and Innovation

Difference Between Invention and Innovation- infographic

What is an Innovation

As mentioned above, innovation can be defined as the introduction of newer and better solutions that meet new requirements or existing market needs. It makes a significant contribution to something that has been already invented. Let’s take the introduction of Apple iPhones by Steve Jobs. Apple was not the first to create phones or even smartphones, but they took the existing concept of smartphones and improved it further to suit the market trends and customer needs. Therefore, the iPhone can be defined as an innovation, not an invention.

Innovation has been defined and described in different fields by various experts and they hold different ideas about the elements of innovation. Edison et al. has compiled some of these definitions and arrived at the following definition for innovation.

“Production or adoption, assimilation, and exploitation of a value-added novelty in economic and social spheres; renewal and enlargement of products, services, and markets; development of new methods of production; and establishment of new management systems. It is both a process and an outcome.”

The process of innovation usually involves identifying market needs, trends, developing competencies, and finding financial support.

Difference Between Invention and Innovation

What is an Invention

An invention is a new device, product, process or concept. It involves transforming new thoughts or concept into tangible products. An invention that gives out an entirely novel and unique function can be a drastic breakthrough.  Some of the most significant inventions in the last few centuries include the invention of the electrical battery by Alessandro Volta, the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg  invention of the electric light bulb by Thomas Alva Edison and invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. These are considered as inventions because they were unique and new products and were not built on existing devices or products.

Inventions can be patented. A patent protects the inventor’s intellectual property rights by law. An invention can have many purposes and the use of an invention can diminish or augment with time as well.

Main Difference - Invention vs Innovation

Difference Between Invention and Innovation


Invention: An invention is a novel product, device, process, or concept.

Innovation: An innovation is the introduction of a newer and better solution that meet new requirements or existing market needs.


Invention: Examples include the invention of the printing press, electricity, telephone, etc.

Innovation: Examples include the introduction of the iPhone, tablet, flat screen TV, etc.


Invention: Invention requires knowledge, competence, and financial aid.

Innovation: Invention requires technical knowledge, competence, knowledge about market needs, trends, and financial support.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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