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Invention vs innovation: the importance of incremental change

Posted by
Bhupendra Kaushik, Global Regulatory Affairs

While both important, at UCB we believe that ‘innovation’ and ‘invention’ are quite distinct. An invention is something completely new, but innovation can be more than just a single idea; it can be found in small, incremental changes or improvements to how we work, how we think, how we see or how we use things, or to pre-existing systems, hierarchies, models, products, services, and processes. But when taken together, these small changes - or improvements – made to an existing product or service can make a big difference and add value.

Examples of incremental innovation are everywhere. The laser, for example, was invented in 1958 and first applied in healthcare as a non-contact scalpel. New applications of lasers include reshaping corneas, photodynamic therapy for cancer, and transmyocardial revascularization (TMR) for severe angina. Even Apple, famed for disruptive innovation, take an incremental innovation approach to its iPhone. It has maintained releasing regular upgraded versions; each offering small scale improvements.

We live in a world that likes ‘quick-wins’ and short-cuts. However, in science, making advancements simply does not happen that way. It takes dedication, hard work, and often time. So, at UCB we celebrate the small improvements and recognise their value as steps forward in a continuous pursuit of innovation as we strive to improve the lives of people suffering severe diseases.

To learn more about UCB’s incredible innovation culture, visit our dedicated innovation page here

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