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What Is Innovation?

Innovation is the creation of new ideas or devices or different approaches to doing something. Innovation happens in many ways. Most innovations are a result of creative thinking. Sometimes valuable innovations happen by accident. Some examples of innovations include Teflon (a nonstick surface), safety glass for car windshields, and even the process for making breakfast cereals like corn flakes! In those cases, inventors were looking for something else and accidentally came up with a different idea or product. At other times innovation happens because people or companies work toward a goal using a combination of skill, creativity, and knowledge. Because innovation makes you think about "new" things, it is usually tied closely to change.

Change is happening all around us all the time. People who are innovators are excited about making changes. In business, change might be a different way to make the same product, or it could be an entirely new product. Trends, or current needs that people have, also determine what changes companies will make in their products. Many companies have R&D (research and development) departments whose job is to find out what people want now and what they will want in the future. By studying trends, R&D departments can provide the products you want to make your life better. Why do engineers need to continually make changes?

One reason is that what worked for us yesterday might not work for us today. That's where innovation and creativity are important. Sometimes we simply want different things such as new car styles, dif­ferent exercise equipment, or new foods. At other times we need change for a specific reason. For example, today we don't know what to do with our nuclear waste products. Up to now, we haven't found a way to store the materials safely for long periods of time. If someonelike you could think of an innovative way to use or recycle the materials, it would really benefit our society.

It's easy to see how some innovations have made our lives easier. You've probably seen old movies where people had to crank the engine to get a car started. Thanks to innovation, all you have to do today is turn the key. Maybe some day all you'll do is talk to the car's computer!

Many innovative ideas go unnoticed by most people. For example, today many parts of cars are made of plastics to reduce weight and to prevent rusting. Many of your clothes are made of new kinds of plastics that don't feel or look any different from the materials that were used before. In the aerospace industry, adhesives (glues) are used instead of rivets to hold airplane wings together.

Other innovative ideas, such as the development of laser, had to wait until people found a practical way to make and use them. Innovation needs some knowledge combined with creativity. There are lots of people out there with knowledge, but they don't know how to use it creatively. Being innovative means you can do something new with your knowledge and experience. It also means you can recognize when something happens accidentally, even if you're not exactly sure what it is!


Завдання 7Визначте, які з поданих нижче речень відповідають змісту тексту:


1 Most innovations happen accidentally, like Teflon or corn flakes.

2 Most innovations make our life harder.

3 To become an inventor you must be excited about making changes.

4 Being innovative means you can do something new with your knowledge and experience.

5 If you could think of an innovative way to use nuclear waste products, there might be less environmental problems.

6 Not a single innovation goes unnoticed.

7 Innovations need a combination of knowledge and creativity.

8 Innovations are important when we want some new things or processes for a specific reason.

9 Engineers need to continually make changes.

10 Companies must know what people want now and what they will want in future.

Завдання 8Дайте відповіді на запитання до тексту:

1 What do we call an innovation?

2 How do innovations appear?

3 What are the main reasons for innovations?

4 Can every person come up with a new idea or design, or do you need special characteristics to produce innovations?

5 Can you give some examples of innovations?


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