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12.1 Two models

So far you've seen that there are two general drivers of invention. One is the scientific and technological knowledge and skills that can be applied to invent a new product or process. The other is the recognition of a need or a potential market for an invention. But is one more important than the other? I'll consider briefly two simple models that explain how the innovation process starts.


Author(s): The Open University

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11.7 Characteristics of inventors

In their classic book The Sources of Invention (1969) John Jewkes, David Sawers and Richard Stillerman observe the following about inventors, whether working outside or inside an organisation.

  • Inventors tend to be absorbed with their own ideas and to feel strongly about their importance and potential.

  • Inventors can be impatient with those who don't share their optimism.

  • Inventors are often isolated because they are
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11.5.4 Analogy

Analogy draws on similar situations to provide ideas for invention and design. Alexander Graham Bell used the analogy of the human ear when designing telephone apparatus to receive sound. As mentioned above, his first receivers were much better than his transmitters where the analogy with the ear didn't work as well. When devising their flying machine, the Wright brothers used the analogy of soaring birds twisting their wings to restore balance. They designed the wings of their aircraft to be
Author(s): The Open University

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10.9.1 New materials

The discovery of new materials, exploration of their properties and the invention of new industrial processes is a huge field of study in its own right. The potential rewards for a company discovering a successful application of a new material are great.

An example of this is shape memory alloys (SMAs). SMAs are mixtures of metals that, after being stress treated, can be deformed significantly but then triggered to return to their original shape. Some display unusual elastic properties
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10.9 Opportunity offered by a new material, technology or manufacturing process

More often when new materials or technologies appear they are used to improve the performance of existing products. But in an increasing number of cases their appearance can make it possible to create new products.


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10.8 Need to improve product or process

Even though an invention will have been thoroughly tested before launch it's not possible for a company to test its performance in every situation in which it will be used. Real users are likely to discover how the product might not perform well or how it doesn't meet their needs. Once a company learns about these deficiencies it can address them through redesign. There are a number of incentives to do this: improve the product's performance in order to increase its appeal to larger numbers o
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10.6 What drives invention in organisations?

Much invention and nearly all innovation nowadays take place inside organisations – from small start-up companies to well-established multinationals. This is mainly because increasingly invention and innovation require access to technology and resources beyond the scope of most individuals. But it is also because competitiveness and survival depend on the continual improvement of a company's products and processes. This provides a strong incentive for companies to invest in both the increme
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10.5 Desire to help others

This is a less common motivation but it shows not everyone is driven by money.

In 1991 the inventor Trevor Baylis saw a BBC documentary about the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. What was needed was a way of broadcasting the safe-sex message to people in areas without electricity and where batteries for a radio could cost a month's wages. Solar power wouldn't necessarily help as most people who could get to a radio listened in the evening after work. While absorbing this information he ima
Author(s): The Open University

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5.6 Filtration

In filtration, the partially treated water is passed through a medium such as sand or anthracite, which acts as a ‘strainer’, retaining the fine organic and inorganic material and allowing clean water through. The action of filters is complex and in some types of filter biological action also takes place. Sand filters are used in water treatment to remove the fine particles which cannot be economically removed by sedimentation. They have been effective in removing Cryptosporidium,
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3.3.3 Reassembling the parts

As the wreckage was pulled from the river it was examined and identified, and any failures of the metal components were recognised and tagged. This was a mammoth task, given that virtually the whole bridge had fallen into the water, including all the road decks, trusses, chains and hangers, eye bars and the two towers. The parts were then reassembled and all the failed or fractured components photographed and catalogued. Over 90 per cent of the bridge components were collected together and re
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7.3 ‘Insiders’ and ‘outsiders’

The claim that it is possible to study religion adequately from a disinterested position has been hotly debated. Can the understanding of the observer achieve the same level of insight and authority as the participant in a religion? No serious student of religion can avoid confronting this question.

The ‘outsider’ cannot escape depending to an extent upon insights from ‘insiders’ when studying a particular religion. An ‘outsider’ who has never been through a particular ritua
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7.1 Some basic principles of religious studies

Remember that in Section 4 I suggested that possible reasons for studying religion could be clustered together under two broad headings:

  1. to understand the society in which we live, the culture we inherit and the wider world of which we are a part;

  2. as part of a personal quest for religious
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6.1 Introduction

Whatever else they may be, religions grow in historical and social settings. The present form of a religion has its roots in the past. Religion can exercise a strong influence upon society and the cultural forms of a society, but religion itself is no less affected by changes and pressures within society. Religion gives meaning to a pattern of living and may even be responsible for establishing a certain lifestyle or distinctive social organisation or institution. At the same time, religion o
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5.5 Common sense and analysis

Faced with the choice between narrow substantive definitions and broad functional definitions, we should require any definition to ‘fit with broad common-sense reflection’ and ‘encompass what ordinary people mean when they talk of religion’ (Bruce, 1995, p. ix). The definition must also assist in the analysis and explanation of what is being studied. For these reasons, Steve Bruce, who is a leading sociologist of religion, opts for the following substantive defini
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5.3 Scholarly definitions of religion

Scholars offer us many different definitions of religion, but these definitions tend to be of two types. The first type is known as a substantive definition: that is, a definition that tells us what kind of thing religion is by pointing to its distinguishing characteristic – usually its beliefs and/or practices. We can find an example of a substantive definition of religion in my summary of the definitions found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Think again about d. Acc
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4.4 Religion and social policy

Understanding religious beliefs and practices and what we mean by ‘religion’ is not merely of academic interest. It is often bound up with social policy and so relates to the rights and privileges of individuals. In Britain, for example, the Church of Scientology has not been allowed to register i
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4.3 The changing face of belief

The religious life of post-war Britain has become more varied, although Christianity in different forms remains the most influential religion. Yet, the influence of Christianity over British institutions has declined greatly over the last century and a half, although both England and Scotland still retain Established Author(s): The Open University

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • have an understanding of how the Grand Louvre has come to be as it is;

  • critically discuss the claim that the collections in the Louvre constitute a significant part of the canon of Western European art;

  • ask questions of museums and collections that are appropriate to art history.


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Acknowledgements

This unit was written by Professor Clive Emsley

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to r
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3.3 Factors leading to the ‘Final Solution’

Activity 4

Two questions:

  1. What was east of Nazi-occupied Poland?

  2. On what would this new resettlement depend?


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