Nearly all the innovations and advancements in science, technology and artefacts which have emerged as a successful attempt and have gained wide acceptance in the societies are the result of a series of attempts and experiments. It is merely because first experiments and tryouts often didn’t work. Steam engine is one of the examples. The wide spread acceptance on this invention evolved after its introduction by Watts, but it was not his exclusive work. His archetype was a 57 years earlier Newcomen’s Engine which Watts was repairing.
Again he was not the sole introducer though the most prominent because Thomas Savery introduced another steam engine in 1698 based on a design by Dennis Papan in 1680 and then it was not Papan’s idea but the original concept belonged to a Dutch Cristiaan Huygens. Light bulb developed by Edison in 1879 was not the result of his first attempt, but it was the result of a series of experiments during 1842-78. Wright brothers succeeded in the attempted flight the bases of which were the concepts of Joseph Henry, William Cooke, Charles Wheatstone, Otto Lilenthal.
(Diamond, 1997) The above discussion implies that innovation facilitates the process of change and development in societies. Today’s scientific developments are a result of continuity in research & development and it is this continuity in R&D that keeps a modern society ahead of other relatively less developed societies. Innovation, if encouraged in a society, forms the basis of this continuation in research and development and thus serves as the key to future development. Inventions have Unplanned Usage:
Most of the inventors have different approaches and purposes of their invention but their widely accepted usage is quite a different one. Even some things are invented by rather unprofessional attempts and later people thought that they need it. Taking the example of Edison, he purposely invented phonograph for preserving record and to develop books for people lacking sight. Recording music had never been one of his priorities, but this was the major use of phonograph by the masses.
Thus we can say that the history of is that of trial and error, the steps are to invent and then persuade the society to accept it. (Diamond, 1997) The unplanned or unconventional usage of technology is an innovation on its own. The human quest for continuous improvement compels researchers to view scientific theories and models with different angles, which often lead to surprise developments. This aspect points towards a key fact about innovation, i. e. innovation often shortens the time frame required to make progress in a certain area.
In fact, it leads to certain developments that prove to be of better use than the planned improvement. Sources of Innovation: It has been a long debate about the nature and source of innovation. Some researchers believe that innovation in nothing but an accidentally generated idea, there is not cognitive approach involved in it. But practical experiments and results flatly disapprove this hypothesis, that’s why the more agreeable assessment is that “Innovation is mostly is the result of cognisant and determined exploration of prospects which are only available in rare circumstances”.
The motives and boosters of innovative process are uncertainty and competition. But we have figured out that process of innovation is cognitive, organizational or economic in nature (Pavitt, 2003) i. e. advancements in technology are either produced by rational thinking and research. This is considered the most reliable and proper method to achieve technological advancement and to pioneer new trends, ideas and concepts. Organizational needs also compel the management to develop new ideas and products or to economise the operational cost.
In some scenarios the motives are purely economical when the market is stagnant or the economy is declining. In such circumstances, it becomes necessary to give it a boom and nothing more then an innovative step can regenerate such an economic boom. Therefore, some new developments and technological advancements are necessary to initiate the process. Technological change is the result of scientific discovery, experiment and innovation, all of which must be financed, either by the private sector or by the state.
The successful introduction of technology into the domestic production process in any country, what can be called domestic innovation, requires a domestic scientific establishment capable, first, of understanding, processing, adopting and adapting foreign-produced technological knowledge, including machines and tools, to local conditions and, later, of conducting its own research, designing its own experiments, and recognizing the potential and, sometimes, dangers of its own discoveries when applied to the domestic economy.
(Cypher & Dietz, 1997, p. 405) Innovation can also be referred to as an organization or society’s response to the changing environment. This change can be within the internal environment of the organization or can be in the external environment. On the other hand, innovation can also be referred to as a process aimed at satisfying human quest for continuous improvement and developments.
In addition to this, evolution of humans and their societies can also be considered a source of innovation. In short, innovation can be a result of a range of events, developments or progressions. It is therefore important to categorize these factors, as it will lead to a better understanding of the innovation process. The passages below identify some key sources of innovation.