Re: Learning vs. Innovation LO1414

Peter Marks (
Mon, 29 May 1995 03:36:57 -0700

Replying to LO1400 --

Michael McMaster writes:

>I think it might be worth distinguishing learning from innovation in
>this conversation. I'd go about it this way:
> ...
>The connection between the two is that innovation will be followed by
>learning if the innovation is to "stick" and become useful.
>Is that useful?

In the Technology Transfer domain a key distinction is made between
Invention and Innovation. The former is (the creation of, and some proof
of concept of) a new idea itself, the latter is putting the invention into
actual practice.

A natural analogy might seem to be

Michael TT
------- -------

which would argue that learning precedes innovation.

I think that Michael's focus, and therefore his point, is somewhat

+ In the TT case, the "who" doing the inventing (usually an individual or
small group) is typically different than the "who" subject to the
innovation (a larger group). In fact the inventor may well have no
personal place in the innovation.

+ In Michael's context, maintaining the "who" IS the issue, and being part of
"someone else's" innovation sets the stage for one's own learning.

Still, something is missing. Certainly an "accidental" change of process
that happens to produce better results is not yet innovation. Some
learning somewhere in the organization must precede innovation. Something
more complex than Michael's model is clearly going on.

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