The Ten Types of Innovation

When it comes to innovation, there are no quick shortcuts to success. Big Budgets do not necessarily guarantee the outcome, and you have to spend wisely. The premier innovative companies, are not necessarily the biggest spenders anyway. For many businesses and organizations innovation isn’t optional—it’s imperative. Customers demand it; competitors will outflank them if they don’t achieve it; talented employees won’t join their teams if they don’t deliver it; and most analysts and investors expect it. Jim Stikeleather, Chief Innovation Officer at Dell Services in an article wrote:

“Recognising innovation as a systematic business process is far more important than just creating “an innovation”. If a company is to be a market leader, it must set the “pace of innovation”. To become a serial innovator, a company will need to view innovation as an ongoing business process that spans all the dimensions of the business innovation”. 

Many people assume innovation demands massive investments in R&D, astounding technological discoveries, and an unending stream of shiny new products with ever-better features and functions. Unfortunately, these are precisely the practices that produce staggeringly high rates of failure. Firms that try to innovate fail to achieve a satisfactory return on their investments—by their own standards—96 percent of the time. This is powerful evidence that the typical approach to innovation isn’t working. Given the astounding pace of change across markets and throughout the globe, we need successful innovation now more than ever.

According to Jim, “creating new products is only one of ten types of innovation, and on its own, it provides the least return”. That is something Facebook can identify with as they pursue their quest for monetization. He identifies other types as

  • business model and network and alliance innovation
  • process and core process innovation.
  • product performance innovation, product system innovation and service innovation
  • channel, brand and customer experience innovation.

Authors Larry Keeley, Ryan Pikkel, Brian Quinn, and Helen Walters wrote a book titled ‘Ten Types of Innovation The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs’ to share one of the world’s most recognized frameworks in the field of innovation—developed by Doblin, the innovation practice of Monitor Deloitte within Deloitte Consulting LLP, through empirical study and over 30 years of research and practical application. It helps visionaries of all levels and in all industries learn what to do when the stakes are high, time is short and a breakthrough needs to happen. Initially developed in 1998, the Ten Types of Innovation showed that companies that integrate multiple types of innovation will develop offerings that are more difficult to copy and that generate higher returns. Page 70, gives great insight into Google’s efforts as a marketing system.

The Ten Types rapidly became a key tool for innovators everywhere—used by entrepreneurs at startups and by industry leaders across the globe. “We are overdue for a revolution in the way innovation is diagnosed, developed, fostered, de-risked, launched and amplified,” says Keeley. “Our ambition is to make innovation a systematic approach, moving the field from a mysterious art to more of a disciplined science using analogies throughout the book to help illustrate our ambition rather than mirror our claim.

“Society is in the midst of radical transformation. We struggle to resolve issues around the increasing cost of both education and healthcare and their increasingly limited return on investment—and yet we steadily expect more from our computers, smartphones, apps, networks and games,” says Quinn. “We need to recognize that both our need and capacity for innovation has never been greater. For perhaps the first time in history, we are in a position to tackle tough and important problems with rigorous tools and techniques.”

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