oa South African Journal of Science - Promoting an environment of innovation : a university scientist’s view - commentary

Volume 113 Number 11-12
  • ISSN : 0038-2353
  • E-ISSN: 1996-7489



Innovation is a central driving force towards achieving excellence in science. Yet I believe that we often fail to think much about what innovation really is or how to actively promote it. The Wikipedia definition – ‘Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than doing the same thing better’ – provides some insight. Nevertheless, to define innovation clearly requires us to contemplate the difference between innovation and invention. Again, Wikipedia describes this difference well: ‘Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself.’ Much for us to consider in seeking to be more effective in our research!

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