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Innovation v. Entrepreneurship

Something is bothering me about these two words.

They seem to appear in a lot of the same places, and sometimes are used interchangeably.  But can innovation really substitute for entrepreneurship, and vice versa?  Let’s take a look at the definitions:

entrepreneur: noun. 1. a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.  2.  an employer of productive labor; contractor.  verb. 1. to deal with or initiate as an entrepreneur. (Fr. meaning one who undertakes.)

innovation: noun.  1. something new or different introduced; 2. the act of innovating; introduction of new things or methods. (La. renew, alter, or equivalent.)

OK, in my mind, these two things aren’t the same.  Yes, there’s some overlap.  But I think of them as a venn diagram – two circles that overlap–and the space where they intersect covers both.  Because entrepreneurs can be innovative, but they don’t necessarily have to be.  For example, if someone opens a franchise, is that innovative?  It’s new.  But it isn’t really different.  It’s been done, just maybe not in that specific geography.

On the other hand, there can be overlap.  If you think of the traditional French stem of the word “entrepreneur,” which means to start something, starting things can be new and different–but not necessarily.  A lot of entrepreneurs reapply the ideas of others.  Again, not really innovative.

Do you see why I’m a little disturbed here?  The two words are not directly interchangeable.  The problem is, I’ve got to edit part of a book (and you know how I feel about editing, ESPECIALLY other people’s stuff) where I’m seeing the authors kind of mix these two terms up, and the LAST thing I want to do is make students perplexed about entrepreneurship.  It should be explained in an easy and fun way.  And while innovation CAN be part of entrepreneurship, it doesn’t necessarily NEED to be included.  And vice versa.  You can be innovative without being an entrepreneur, and you can be an entrepreneur without being innovative.

<sigh>…

(I’m really just stalling from starting my editing…can you tell?)

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