Types of Innovation

It is remarkable how many people are under the false assumption that companies are either innovative or not.   This is a very polarizing and simplistic perspective that does not take into account the different types of innovations that companies can and do pursue.

For this post, let’s break down innovation into two dimensions:  Technology and Market, which gives us the following 4 types of innovation:

Incremental Innovation

Incremental Innovation is the most common form of innovation. It utilizes your existing technology and increases value to the customer (features, design changes, etc.) within your existing market.  Almost all companies engage in incremental innovation in one form or another.

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation, also known as stealth innovation, involves applying new technology or processes to your company’s current market.   It is stealthy in nature since newer tech will often be inferior to existing market technology.   This newer technology is often more expensive, has fewer features, is harder to use, and is not as aesthetically pleasing.   It is only after a few iterations that the newer tech surpasses the old and disrupts all existing companies.  By then, it might be too late for the established companies to quickly compete with the newer technology.

Architectural Innovation

Architectural innovation is simply taking the lessons, skills and overall technology and applying them within a different market.   This innovation is amazing at increasing new customers as long as the new market is receptive.   Most of the time, the risk involved in architectural innovation is low due to the reliance and reintroduction of proven technology.   Though most of the time it requires tweaking to match the requirements of the new market.

Radical innovation

Radical innovation is what we think of mostly when considering innovation.   It gives birth to new industries (or swallows existing ones) and involves creating revolutionary technology.   The airplane, for example, was not the first mode of transportation, but it is revolutionary as it allowed commercialized air travel to develop and prosper.

Please go To “Course Materials for Download” at Lesson 1 and download the file “Day 2 – Live 2 – The Innovation Cycle

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