What Are the 4 Types of Innovation?


Innovation is one of the most talked-about concepts in business today.  In a constantly changing world, it’s crucial to stay relevant. So how can you use innovation to stay relevant in the industry? How can you be sure your new idea has what it takes to help your business grow? By understanding the different types of innovation. 

Below are the four major types of innovations you should know about:

Incremental Innovation

It’s among the most common types of innovation. It involves slightly improving an existing product or service, such as making a new feature for an app. It can be done by adding something new to a current product, changing its design slightly, or improving it.

Incremental innovations can be made with minimal investment and risk; they don’t require much time or money to implement and don’t deliver huge benefits. Incremental innovations are helpful if your business needs a quick win that requires little effort or money.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding to make iterative improvements rather than radical changes:

  • Be sure that your current products and services work well enough
  • Make sure you understand what people want from the new additions.

Radical Innovation

In this type of innovation, you’re trying to find a solution that no one has ever thought of. You can’t predict how it will work or impact the market, but it can be incredibly effective in taking your business to new heights.

Startups often use radical innovation because they don’t have a lot of resources and time to develop products with incremental improvements—they need something new that their competitors don’t offer.

However, even big businesses like Apple turned to radical innovation. For instance, Apple created the iPod after they saw sales plunge due to competition from Microsoft Windows XP and other operating systems at the turn of the century.

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation is a change that creates new markets and disrupts existing ones. It can be very profitable for the innovator but often causes a drastic shift in the existing market. For example, traditional brick-and-mortar stores faced stiff competition when online shopping first came out. They lost customers who no longer had to go out of their way to visit a physical store.

There are several changes these kinds of innovation bring; including:

  • A change in the way a company creates and delivers products or services
  • A change in how customers use, perceive and interact with a product or service

Disruptive innovation is why Uber and Airbnb are so successful—they changed how people used cars and travel accommodations.

Sustainable Innovation

Sustainable innovation often has the potential to enhance both human and environmental well-being. It is “the process of developing and providing products, services, or business models that aim to lessen or avoid adverse effects on human health and the environment.”

This innovation has a more significant positive impact on the environment through utilizing recyclable materials and renewable resources. Sustainable innovation can be applied to any business in any industry. It’s instrumental in energy production, waste management, recycling programs, etc.

So, There You Have It!

Innovation is more than creating a new product or service. It is also looking at old problems and finding new ways to solve them. Click here to learn more about the outcome-driven innovation process.