Poetics of Invention

An invention presents a novel solution to an existing problem. An invention does not simply exist in the same way for everyone across time and space. Instead we can say the poetics of an invention is capable of bringing new and different things into the world depending on many variables beyond the inventor’s intentions.



When inventors become entrepreneurs they must test their various value propositions through the process of customer discovery. The values that inventions hold for others are discovered through experimentation and iteration. However, from other disciplinary vantage points we can describe this same process differently.

The intellectual commons of the OU campus, the Bizzell Memorial Library, invites visitors to reflect on how the humanities—the constellation of fields from history and art to literature and philosophy—can help unlock the full potential of inventions. Today’s innovators think and work across disciplines, cultures, and languages to help shape not only what is but what can be. 


Photograph of print top table.