Re: Learning vs. Innovation LO1425

Wiggo Hustad (
Tue, 30 May 1995 13:09:00 +0200

Replying to LO 1400, LO1414, LO1416

Hi all !

Your views are confusing me. One reason for that might be that I as a
Norwegian see different meanings in your words Innovation, Invention
etc.You seem to hold innovation more sophisticated than the invention,
while I see it the opposite way. Let me try to show you what I see.

First of all there are differences between nouns and verbs. The first is
the result, the second is the process. Example: the innovation (lets say
the screwdriver) is the thing coming out of the process. The process might
be either to innovate or to invent, in my view depending on the impact of
the result. The invented has (or might have) greater impact on our daily
lives than the innovated, i.e. the innovated is result of an incremental
process, whilst the invented is entirely new. The invention of the
screwdriver was important, the innovation that has taken place later on,
have further developed the tool, ergonomics, electrified it, etc. It
comes to my mind that this is somewhat similar to James March concepts
Exploration and Exploitation (Organization Science 1/91, a special issue
on Organizational Learning worth reading for most people joining this
list), where exploitation is the incremental innovation and the
exploration is the sudden invention. I also feel that the degree of
conciousness must be a part of the debate here. The concious process is
the learning process, while the unconcious is some kind of intuition.

Second, when it comes to single and double loops: Both can be tied to both
product and process, but double loops are more relevant when it comes to
the process part of the learning process. This is how I see it (hope that
the matix survive the transfer):

invention/ innovation/
exploration exploitation

Host's Note: Wiggo's matrix did not survive the landing on my mail
reader. Perhaps it will for others on the list. For anyone trying this, I
suggest keeping the lines no more than 75 columns wide.

You must also remember that while the innovation process is single loop,
the change of the innovation process might be double loop, and the
invention might be double loop , but is not until it affects the process
of later innovation processes.

Third - learning and invention or innovation. Unless the
invented/innovated is something you never have seen anything like before,
it is part of some experience, hence both are results of learning
processes. It is the origin of knowledge, the use of knowledge and the
application or change of the product/process based on the used knowledge
that decides whether the learning is single or duoble loop.

So, have I got this right, or are more people more confused ? Please
enlighten me !

wiggo hustad
Western Norway Research Institute
Sogndal, Norway