Invention and Innovation: novelty and necessity


  • Jose Florencio F. Lapeña, Jr. Department of Otorhinolaryngology College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila; Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery East Avenue Medical Center, Diliman, Quezon City






“You’re a wave, met you on the shore

Though we’ve met before;

Keep coming back for more and more

Each day, you brighten up my eye;

Sparkle in your eye, star to steer me by”1


As oft-unheralded offspring of necessity, inventions may appear innocuously or glaringly on our horizon, adding new color to our world. Whether emerging a brilliant sunburst topping majestic clouds, or a subtle ray filtering through shadowy groves, inventions bring light to life and have the potential to forever change the previous world order. Serendipity and inspiration play their role in sparking the creative imagination; but inventions would barely see the light of day were it not for the persistence, perspiration and dogged determination that formed them while burning the proverbial midnight oil.


Actualization marks the subtle difference between invention and innovation. According to Masnick, “plenty of people or companies who ‘invented’ an idea were never able to capitalize on the idea at all. It took others who actually innovated and built off that idea to make a product that actually had an impact on the world.”2 In business terms, Invention is “the formulation of new ideas for products or processes;” Innovation is “all about the practical application of new inventions into marketable products or services.”3 Schrage hits the nail on the head when he observes that "the technical excellence of an invention matters far less than the economic willingness of the customer or client to explore it."4 He continues: “We have no shortage of good inventions. What we need are better ways to bring them to customers.”4


Our journal has a long and proud tradition of encouraging scholarly dissemination of discoveries. Far from being a purely academic exercise, making such novelty public is a necessary contribution to new knowledge, skills and attitudes of our readers. Rather than coming to rest in library shelves or databases, we hope these data and devices come alive in the minds, hearts and hands of physicians and surgeons, and ultimately benefit the patients, families and communities they serve. Never mind that we can ill-afford the costly and tedious processes of international patent application, or that our innovations seem “backward” from a “developed country” perspective; we hope they will be as relevant and appropriate as they are useful to our people and loco-regional situation. "If you want to learn about the importance of "invention" over the past 300 years, talk to the lawyers. If you want to hear about the importance of "innovation," however, talk to anyone else."4



I am pleased and proud to announce that the Philipp J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg is now also indexed on Philippine Journals On Line (PhilJOL)available at and supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP)  This additional indexing service greatly increases our visibility and accessibility to such search engines as google and google scholar. Our journal is available on


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How to Cite

Lapeña JFF. Invention and Innovation: novelty and necessity. Philipp J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg [Internet]. 2009 Jun. 15 [cited 2022 Aug. 19];24(1):4. Available from:

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