The Brain Drain

Considering the question of invention versus innovation in my series of lectures on Innovation and Design Management, I came across the fascinating story of the little-known Croatian-born inventor Nikola Tesla. The name Tesla has now become synonymous with the classy electric sports car that bears its name, a car that is enjoying remarkable success against all the odds, but the story of Nikola Tesla is even more remarkable.

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Tesla made huge strides in the early adoption of electricity, developing the ‘AC’ system while the likes of Thomas Edison were still using the old ‘DC’ system. He even worked on wireless lighting and communication as far back as the 1890s. But, as is so often the case, Tesla lacked the necessary business skills to make a commercial success of his inventions, and others profited from his brilliance. How often, in recent years, have we seen great British inventions taken up and exploited by foreign companies to their obvious advantage?

Dig deeper –

Invention or innovation?
Is it better to be first or best?
What drives innovation?