Thursday, May 31, 2012

From invention to innovation

BusinessWeek site, sorry - now Bloomberg BusinessWeek, has a nice slideshow about technology: Technology forgotten pioneers, by Vanessa Wong (24 May 2012). Forgotten inventors include people who invented:
  • remote control for TV (and others)
  • computer mouse
  • telephone
  • television
  • windshield wipers
  • light bulbs
  • flying machines
This makes nice stuff for a course about innovation. These are people who, for one or another reason, has not been themselves able to create a community of users of their novel technology under control of their intelectual property. Others had been able and profited (sometimes immensely) from their novelties and inventions. But others have found the right connections (networks) and conditions to make them "profitable change" (innovation). These are "social battlefields" that determine the success of the invention as innovation and who profits from that.
We have a lot to learn from these cases. Some of their legal battles deserve admiration for the persistence. The windshield wipers is one of my favorites.

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