Disruptive and Incremental Innovation go Hand in Hand.

If you disrupt and can’t sustain, you don’t win. – Gary Pisano

Gary Pisano, in his article: In Defense of Routine Innovation, argues that the world is so caught up with disruptive innovation that we forget that most of the profit from innovation “does not come from the initial disruption; it comes from the stream of routine, or sustaining, innovations that accumulate for years (sometimes decades) afterward.”

Great article and I totally agree.

However I would like to highlight something that is implied with this article but not overtly stated. Disruptive innovation is risky. Yes, design thinking’s iterative approach can help mitigate some of the risk but there are still risks involved.

So should organizations casts their sights on disruptive innovation they would need to balance the risks of disruptive innovation with the more steady returns from incremental innovation activities. This is so that the business can still be sustained should the disruptive innovation fail. Which on many occasions will fail.

My best analogy at managing innovation is very similar to how you would manage your stock portfolio. Balance the tried and proven blue chip companies with the fast growing (high PE ratio) but risky emerging companies. When you do so, it will be your first step towards smarter innovation management.

Good Luck!

Via: HBR

Brian Ling

Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.

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