Cultural changes are set in motion in three ways. The first is invention, the process of creating new cultural elements. Invention has given us the telephone, the airplane and the computer each of these elements of material culture has had a tremendous impact on our way of life.
The same is true of the minimum wage, school desegregation, and women's shelters each an important element of nonmaterial culture. The process of invention goes on constantly.
Discovery, a second cause of cultural change, involves recognizing and understanding more fully something already in existence perhaps a distant star or the foods of another culture or women's political leadership skills. The third cause of cultural change is diffusion, the spread of cultural traits from one society to another. Because new information technology sends information around the globe in seconds, cultural diffusion has never been greater than it is today.