Innovation – New and Novel

By Bruce Wade

People seem to be stuck on this innovation thing and I want to clear some things up. The concept of innovation does not require new or novel. Do not believe what you may hear from an IP Lawyer who would love to register your patent or design and scoop a handful of your money in the process.

Yes, a registered patent or design does require your new invention to be unique, what the legal terms describe a new and novel. It also goes on to explain that if at any stage you have disclosed or released any of the designs to the general public, then a patent becomes difficult if not impossible to register.

Now, it would be great to create something new and novel and be able to have a registered patent and then licence this widget out to various manufacturers and sit back while the money flows in: we have been down this road with a few of our clients, but this is also a pipe dream for a lot of people wanting to play with new ideas and be innovative.

Innovation requires taking what is and consistently making small significant improvements to make it better. Think evolution: the fish did not just jump out onto the beach one day and decide to become a man, it took millions of years (so they say) for this to happen.  Hopefully, we do not need the same timeframe, but innovation is not about the big new idea that will change the course of history, it is about making it better and better with each iteration over time.

In software terms, a place I am better qualified than evolution, we see an initial release of a product followed by regular updates. Version 1 is followed by 1.2, 1,2 and then a bigger release jumps to 2 and so on. If we take this same principle into our lives and seek to correct, fix, and update on a regular cycle, we will see over time huge improvements in the way we do things and the product offerings we deliver to the market.

Go forth and innovate each day, and maybe along the way, you may find something new and novel.