The inevitability of incremental innovation

In the last post we focused on the difficulties of investing in innovation during crisis times and outlined why it is important to think about the long run.

Typically transformative results come from radical innovation which tends to take time to bring benefits due to its inherit complexity. Nevertheless there are many small innovations that can, when summed up, bring effective results for an organization.

According to Innovation Zen, “There are two dimensions we can use to separate an incremental from a radical innovation:

  • The first is an internal dimension, based on the knowledge and resources involved. An incremental innovation will build upon existing knowledge and resources within a certain company, meaning it will be competence-enhancing. A radical innovation, on the other hand, will require completely new knowledge and/or resources and will be, therefore, competence-destroying.
  • The second dimension, the external one, differentiates the innovation based on the technological changes and on the impact upon the market competitiveness. An incremental innovation will involve modest technological changes and the existing products on the market will remain competitive. A radical innovation will instead involve large technological advancements, rendering the existing products non-competitive and obsolete.”

Therefore, internal and external dimensions allow companies to quickly start cashing in on incremental innovation. Simple efficiency improvement ideas or slight product/service face-lifts or upgrades can help increase revenues and/or reduce costs.

By engaging a large community of people and harnessing the wisdom of the crowd incremental innovation results come quickly and people feel listened to. With a transparent, efficient and interactive process, leadership gets a bidirectional communication tool to improve management-employee relationships and bolster participation.

Our clients experience the approval and implementation of many ideas for a constant flow of improvements with results that make an impact on the bottom-line.

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