Think You’re Cut Out For Doing Innovation?

Think You're Cut Out For Doing Innovation?

Has “innovation” or “creativity” been one of the talking points in your last leadership meeting? Has your VP called you recently and asked you to create an innovation index to gauze your team’s performance? Innovation & creativity are the buzz words in the industry today. You might be wondering “When was it not?”. Technology companies and more specifically the technology startups are to be blamed for creating this hype. Hang on! Is this a hype because we all were thinking this is a trend and every successful organization is joining this bandwagon. Let’s take a pause here and understand why on earth is “Innovation” such an important aspect in any business.

What was the first organization to bring in innovation in their product, process or service?

“A naive question to ask” – you will say, isn’t it? That’s because any successful organization needs some form of innovation in order to add value to it’s customers.

At this point, I will ask you “Are you confident that every organization needs innovation to be successful? What about the ones which replicate a business model in a different region? Take the example of Flipkart which replicated Amazon’s business model in India.”

You will say – “Uhmm .. yes .. but that will be an innovation too since they have replicated an innovative idea in a new geographical region”.

All the above statements are correct since innovation has it’s many variations. Let’s look at the Innovation matrix below.

Types of Innovation

Why We Love Innovation (And You Should, Too!)
The Innovation Matrix


Let’s look at the interpretation of each of the quadrants.

Incremental Innovation

The most common form of innovation. This mostly involves features or design changes to the product or service for the same market where it has been in usage. Most of the organizations work (or atleast make efforts) towards this kind of innovation.


  • Adding/modifying/removing features to the product that your customers are already using
  • Adding new cards on “Clash of Clans”! (One of the most addictive games that I have played recently)

Disruptive Innovation

This is the kind of innovation which is of primary target for majority of the startups. Even enterprises try to come up with products or services in this quadrant though that is quite rare. This involves adding new technology in an existing market. Look at the examples below for a better understanding.


  • Kindle disrupting the book reader market (Even though there has been other ebook reader devices before Kindle, but Kindle was the first to disrupt the market with increased adoption)
  • Smart phones disrupting the mobile phone market

Architectural Innovation

Remember the example of Flipkart I gave at the start of this post. Well! That’s an example of Architectural Innovation. This kind of innovation involves replicating the lessons or technology from one market and apply it in another market.

Radical Innovation

This is the form of innovation that we generally think of when we hear the term “Innovation”. Remember the first telephone or the first Desktop. These are examples of Radical Innovation. In this kind of innovation, a new technology is launched for a new market which results in the creation of a new industry or consumer market.


So, the next time someone asks you if you are innovating in your current team or organization, think of the 4 types of innovation. I am quite sure that you are already performing one or more kinds of innovation in your day to day work.



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