National Inventors Month
Hardwire Celebrates May's National Inventors Month with quotes from our top designers, engineers, and thought leaders! On the topic of "inventors" the buzz word "innovation" typically finds its way into the mix; so the question arises, "What is the difference between innovation and invention?"
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary eloquently describes this difference:
"Invention can refer to a type of musical composition, a falsehood, a discovery, or any product of the imagination. The sense of invention most likely to be confused with innovation is “a device, contrivance, or process originated after study and experiment,” usually something which has not previously been in existence.
Innovation, for its part, can refer to something new or to a change made to an existing product, idea, or field. One might say that the first telephone was an invention, the first cellular telephone either an invention or an innovation, and the first smartphone an innovation." (Merriam-Webster)
As outlined in our Core Values, "Bold Innovation" is a significant pillar of Hardwire's identity. Body armor has been around for centuries, and while we do invent new products, we also innovate to continually refine and hone in on the best possible expression of our vision.
To highlight the great minds behind our consistent innovation, we asked our top STEM leaders do describe the unique innovation nuances they face in their roles at Hardwire.
We asked our team to answer one of the following questions:
- What steps do you take to develop an innovative idea or concept?
What innovative project are you most proud of?
- What does innovation mean to you?
- When innovating, how do you balance creativity and functionality?
- When do your most innovative ideas come to you?
- How do you experiment with new ideas?
- What do you do to improve your creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills?
Here is what our top thought leaders had to say about innovation at Hardwire
Q: How do you experiment with new ideas?
A: Fast, often, small, in the kitchen, in the garage, test it, google it, google something like it, try everything at Home Depot, fail, try again, try again, read voraciously on the subject, call an expert, visualize…..be the thing you are trying to solve. The human mind is still the best computer on the planet.
-George Tunis, CEO
Q: When innovating, how do you balance creativity and functionality?
A: One of our Core Values at Hardwire is “Customer. Our sole purpose for being.” When we innovate, we do it with the customer in mind. Innovation absolutely requires creativity, but it also requires a purpose. This means thinking through what our customers really need and/or want. While we might have a creative idea or an innovative technology, it’s only useful if it solves a customer’s problem. We have to focus on what our customers need to be successful in their mission and ensure our creative ideas fit that function. This isn’t to say that our innovations have to be short-term focused. In fact, one of the things that makes Hardwire unique is its long-term vision. But that vision and creativity must be balanced with how we improve the lives of our customers.
-Emily Tunis, COO
Q: What does innovation mean to you?
A: As an engineer, we are trained to identify, analyze, and solve problems. Innovation is the result of our efforts. It is the product of pulling together all of your life’s experiences and applying them to a problem or need to create a solution. It is a measure of creativity that recognizes the risk someone is willing to take to bring a new idea to life.
-Tim Keller, Bridge & Infrastructure Program Manager
Q: What steps do you take to develop an innovative idea or concept?
A: Through iterative failure comes success. Even the greatest ideas require work. Innovation comes from the persistence to not quit.
-Ben Kremer, Design Engineer
Q: How do you experiment with new ideas?
A: ...VERY carefully!
-Scott Kendall, Engineering Director
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Innovation. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved April 19, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/innovation