Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Timeless Challenge of the Language of Inventions

The challenge of finding the right words to describe innovations and inventions is timeless. The inventor needs to create a vocabulary for something that hasn't been described before. But with what words? New words made up to convey the inventor's intent? Old words that convey the concept but not the new meaning?

A 1873 issue of Harper's New Monthly Magazine discussing the invention of the telegraph presents the inventor's conundrum,

"The difficulty of forming a clear conception of the subject is
increased by the fact that while we have to deal with novel and strange facts, we have also to use old words in novel and inconsistent senses."

"The Difficulty of Forming a Clear Conception" : The Telegraph, Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 366 as cited in The Information by James Gleick

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Curious Technology Transfer Moment

I was chatting with several technology transfer gurus involved in some of the most advanced biomedical and biomedical engineering discoveries. The conversation moved to the difficulty of figuring out what is going on in the world of patents and inventions. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to plug Coronado IP and its transformational search capabilities, I delivered my elevator speech. The conversation took a curious turn. The technology transfer gurus told me that they never buy new search technology, that they don't believe in being early adopters and wait for the technology to be mature before investing. What????

To recap, some of the people who are steeped in inventions, patents, and bringing innovations to the marketplace don't believe in buying new technology. My head hurts.