To Innovate or to Improve? That is the question!

One of the issues that I came across this week concerning innovation was around the question of radical versus incremental innovation. Most innovation is incremental, building upon previous ways of doing things, or improving on existing products. Very little innovation is radical, where something new is created.

So what is the value of radical innovation? In another discussion I had, it became clear to me that if there had been some blue sky thinking and radical innovation  around a product/service then it may have created a buzz in the marketplace that is currently missing. This would have allowed for key differentiation between that service and its competitors and thus improved their competitive advantage.

Two of the most influential writers/academics who have proposed radical innovation are Gary Hamel and C.K.Prahald in their book ‘Competing for the Future’.

They stipulate that to create the future a company must

‘Change in some fundamental way the rules of engagement in a long standing industry, redraw the boundaries between industries, create entirely new industries’


This requires radical transformation and not just incremental change. (more…)