The paper discusses the following problems: creativity, can creativity be learned, innovations, continuous and discontinuous improvements, life cycles (Kondratev waves) of new products, technologies and inventions, innovations in the U.S. and in the world, innovations in Poland, patents and breakthrough innovations of the last decades. The paper ends with conclusions.
Słowa kluczowe: creativity, innovations, Kondratev cycles, patents, breakthrough inventions
W artykule dyskutowano nastepujace zagadnienia: kreatywnosc, czy kreatywnosci mozna sie nauczyc, innowacje, ulepszenia ciagle i skokowe, cycle Kondratiewa nowych produktow, technologii i wynalazkow, innowacyjnosc w Stanach Zjednoczonych i w swiecie, innowacyjnosc w Polsce, patenty, epokowe wynalazki w ostatnich dekadach. Artykul jest zakonczony wnioskami. (Kreatywność i innowacje w 21 wieku).
Keywords: kreatywnosc, innowacje, cycle Kondratiewa, patenty, wynalazki epokowe.
Introduction Nowadays, new developments in engineering and information technology require design engineers to have qualities of high level of creativity, inventiveness and ability to apply the newest achievements in science and technology to modern products. Creative people need to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Inventiveness means the power of creative imagination. The goal of science is the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake while the goal of technology is to create products that solve problems and improve human life. Technology is the practical application of science. Creativity There are many definitions of creativity. According to Webster Dictionary, creativity is the ability to make new things or think of new ideas. There are many other definitions, e.g., 1) Creativity is a thought process that involves generating new ideas or concepts or links between existing ideas or concepts; 2) Creativity is the process of developing a new, uncommon or unique idea; 3) Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas, you can learn it, it depends on knowledge, experience, motivation, effort and perseverance; 4) Creativity means creating new combinations from known information. Has anybody ever thought that : All literature written in contemporary English consists of various combinations of only twenty-six letters; All images in the world are combinations of only three basic colors: red, yellow and blue; All music is a composition of up to twelve notes; All known numbers consist of only ten symbols; Extremely complex computer calculations are made using two-element systems. That's why, whenever we mention something new, we say in fact, about the innovative arrangement of existing elements. The world of ideas is similar to the world of finance. Investors are active in the financial world, whereas creative people operate in the world of ideas [...]
 Three roads to awareness, ed. Fabun D., Glencoe Press, Beverly Hills, CA, U.S.A., 1970.  Koch J., Creativity Part 1 - 4 (in Polish), High-Tech Bulletin, Wroclaw University of Technology, Wroclaw Center of Technology Transfer, 32-1 - 35-4 (2008).  Sternberg R. J., Williams, W.M., How to develop student creativity, ASCD, Alexandria, VI, 1996.  Marchetti, C, Society as a learning system: discovery, invention and innovation cycles revisited, RR-81-29, Int. Inst. for Applied System Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria,1981, http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/id/eprint/1262/1/RR-81-29.pdf  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/u-s-patent-andtrademark- office  Jones B.F., Age and great invention, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, April 2008.  Annual Report 2017 (in Polish), Patent Office of the Republic of Poland (UPRP), 2017, www.uprp.pl  Innovation and entrepreneurship centers (in Polish), ed. A. Bąkowski, M.Mażewska, Society of Organizers of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centers (SOOIPP), Poznan-Warszawa, 2018, www.sooipp.org.pl