Innovation Model "Incremental vs. Disruptive"

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  • Knowledge nugget
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Ideal innovation phases for this method:
  1. Innovation Phase
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Description

In this innovation model the authors Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tsch├Ąppeler explain the difference between sustainable innovations (incremental improvement) and disruptive innovations and why small companies often overtake large companies with innovations.

Harvard economist Clayton Christensen has investigated why virtually all groundbreaking innovations have been missed by industry leaders. His work is regarded as a milestone in business administration.

Christensen distinguishes between two types of innovation: sustainable innovation (also called incremental improvement methods) and disruptive innovation. In the former case, existing products are improved in order to be able to sell them at a higher price. In contrast, disruptive/destructive innovation creates new products that are typically simpler, faster or cheaper. Established companies usually try to improve their successful products - even if these performance improvements were not required by the customer. Christensen describes this as "overshooting" - the management of the manufacturing company does not even know why their product is popular and ignores customer needs during the innovation steps. While the established company is still focusing on the upper market segment, a disruptive innovation emerges from a previously unknown company and throws a completely new product onto the market. Soon the overlooked innovation gains market share and replaces the leading product.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg quotes: "I don't know whether things will get better if they change. But it has to be different for it to be good."
  • Effective for all innovation types
  • Effective for disruptive innovations
  • Effective for highly complex challenges
  • Effective for incremental innovations and improvements
  • Effective for medium complex challenges
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