For the common person, usually, innovation means something ground-breaking. But, as an innovation manager, you must have the clarity that breakthrough innovation is not synonymous with innovation as a whole — it is just one of its many kinds. Each type of innovation serves its own purpose. You need to choose wisely and decide tactfully regarding when to leverage which. The first step is to identify the various types of innovation and understand how they differ from each other. So, let’s begin!
What are the 4 Types of Innovation?
1. Disruptive Innovation
Iconic business consultant Clayton Christensen developed the concept of disruptive innovation. It involves building a new value network. You can do this by leveraging emerging technologies or new business models to shake things up in an existing industry. Take Netflix as an example — through its innovative video streaming model it disrupted the entertainment industry. Netflix changed the way people consume content and they started loving it! The company catered to its consumers like no one did before and established a norm in the industry.
2. Radical Innovation
Radical innovation is the very ground-breaking innovation that we were referring to at the beginning of the blog. Wondering how is it different from disruptive innovation? Well, every radical innovation can be considered a disruptive innovation but not vice versa. The former is similar to the latter but 100x more intense. While disruptive innovation updates an existing industry, radical innovation creates an entirely new market or devours an existing one with revolutionary technology. It solves global issues and completely transforms the way the world works. Computers and the internet are excellent instances of radical innovations.
Architectural innovation is all about making the best of the existing technologies and business models by applying the mix and match approach. Just think about Uber. It brilliantly combined ride-sharing, geolocation, and freelancing. All of them have been present in the market for a while. But no one else thought about punching them together to make something so fruitful that it would blend into our daily routine. Uber not only disrupted transportation but also gave new life to the gig economy.
4. Incremental Innovation
Incremental innovation is the staple innovation of the lot. Radical and disruptive innovations are great. But let’s be real, a company cannot drop ground-breaking products or services all the time. Besides, both of them take significant time and resources. Incremental innovation, on the other hand, keeps you afloat. You make steady improvements to your products and business operations by bringing minor improvements that align your company with consumer expectations. Television is a classic example of incremental innovation. From big fat boxes sitting in our living rooms to cool sleek gadgets with smart features — TVs have come a long way in a short time through baby steps.
Now, let’s hear from the horse’s mouth — as an innovation manager, have you come across any other types of innovation that should be on this list? If yes, what are they? Get in touch & let us know!