Along with the basic distinction between innovation and invention, I find this next thought enlightening, encouraging and just kind of weird. A lot of the people we are taught as a culture to think of as inventors are famous for their innovations. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. Bell didn’t invent the telephone and Ford may or may not have invented the assembly line. Neither Jobs nor Gate invented the computer or MP3 player. The Wright brothers did not come up with the idea of manned flight. These two words overlap for sure, but the people who got famous or made money from an idea are often the innovators who made the idea useful.
We often get caught up with the notion that coming up with a totally new idea out of the blue is what is really important. Innovations are possible all around us as we go about our daily lives, but we never learn how to capitalize on them and benefit the world thereby because in our minds we are not inventors yet the slight improvement that makes an invention more useful is the purview of us all.