Merry Christmas and Innovation vs. Invention

Merry Christmas from all of us at Montie Design!  I hope you have a joyous Christmas and enjoy the holiday season.

Innovation vs. Invention – Case In Point

“Innovation” is an often misused term.  Simply put, innovation is where you combine existing intellectual property (or know how) in a new and creative way.  Invention is where you create new intellectual property.

There is an awesome video of a new product that has achieved viral status on YouTube.  You can watch the video here.  This device (called a Fly Board) allows the user to fly like Iron Man for a few feet into the air.

Water is pumped from an impeller (same as impeller on a Jet Ski) through a hose and then ejected from four nozzles to propel the user through the air.

Is this an example of invention or innovation?  There are many examples of using nozzles to eject water in a high velocity stream (think fire hose).  Water is often piped through flexible hoses (think fire hose again).  This product is an example of innovation because existing technologies from fire hoses were combined with using a personal watercraft as a remote power source.  This is a great example of cross pollination because technologies from different industries were innovatively combined to create a new product.  On a personal note, I want to try this new product.  But, I’m pretty sure I won’t be thinking about product development terminology as I’m flying through the air.

Want to talk product development or need help with a project?  Don’t hesitate to contact me at 919-481-1845 x107 or

Merry Christmas,

Montie Roland

Montie Roland is President of Montie Gear, a manufacturer of outdoor sporting equipment in Sanford, NC. Montie is also employed at Pentair in Sanford, NC as a Mechanical Engineer on the New Product Development team. Montie enjoys finding innovative solutions to customer requirements. He has 15 years of experience engineering products in diverse market spaces including industrial, commercial and military. Montie earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is also the President Emeritus of the Carolinas chapter of the Product Design Management Association ( and a founder of the RTP Product Development Guild (

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