Invention and Innovation

Question: "What is an invention and what is innovation? Are they actually the same?"

Answer: One of the most important things in product management is to have a clear and consistent set of terms. Otherwise people will have different interpretations for the same thing.

Invention is an idea that improves an existing solution or offers a conceptually new solution to a problem. Innovation is applying that invention to a product. Blackblot follows these definitions:

  • Invention – An idea which represents a revolutionary or evolutionary change.
  • Innovation – The introduction of a product that is new or substantially improved.


Innovation is the process of converting and commercializing an invention into a product. Therefore the concept is:

Innovation = Invention + Utilization

For more information, please see the Blackblot glossary of product management.