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What is invention, Have You Ever Think?

What is invention, Have You Ever Think?

TheTechBlogWorld: That sounds like a trivial question, but it’s worth pausing a moment to consider what “invention” really means. In one of my dictionaries, it says an inventor is someone who comes up with an idea for the first time. In another, an inventor is described as a person of “unique intuition or genius” who devises an original product, process, or the machine. Dictionary definitions like these are badly out of date—and probably always have been. Since at least the time of Thomas Edison (the mid-to-late 19th century), the invention has been as much about manufacturing and marketing inventions successfully as about having great ideas in the first place.
Some of the most famous inventors in history turn out, on closer inspection, not to have originated ideas but to have developed existing ones and made them stunningly successful. Edison himself didn’t invent electric light, but he did develop the first commercially successful, long-lasting electric light bulb. (By creating a huge market for this product, he created a similarly huge demand for electricity, which he was busily generating in the world’s first power plants.) In much the same way, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi can’t really be described as the inventor of the radio.
Other people, including German Heinrich Hertz and Englishman Oliver Lodge, had already successfully demonstrated the science behind it and sent the first radio messages. What Marconi did was to turn radio into a much more practical technology and sell it to the world through bold and daring demonstrations. These days, we’d call him an entrepreneur—a self-starting businessperson who has the drive and determination to turn a great idea into a stunning commercial success.
What is invention, Have You Ever Think?
It’s important not to underestimate the commercial side of inventing. It takes a lot of money to develop an invention, manufacture it, market it successfully, and protect it with patents. In our gadget-packed homes and workplaces, modern inventions seldom do completely original jobs. More often, they have to compete with and replace some existing gadget or invention to which we’ve already become attached and accustomed. When James Dyson launched his bagless cyclone vacuum cleaner, the problem he faced was convincing people that it was better than the old-fashioned vacuums they had already. Why should they spend a fortune buying a new machine when the one they had already was perfectly satisfactory?
Successful inventions have to dislodge existing ones, both from our minds (which often find it hard to imagine new ways of doing things) and from their hold on the marketplace (which they may have dominated for years or decades). That’s another reason why inventing is so difficult and expensive—and another reason why it’s increasingly the province of giant corporations with plenty of time and money to spend.
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Staff Writer    Updated On : Tuesday, September 04, 2018

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