How should you be innovating?

By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

7 August 2017

How do we innovate, and how can an innovative practice implement effective change in business?

Greg Satell, Consultant and author of Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age, identified four types of innovation in an article for Harvard Business Review.

He suggests that each category has its own methods and strengths, the values of which are defined by the problem they need to solve. In some cases, for example, the need to innovate may be apparent but the specific issues that require resolution may not be clear.

As such, a 'Basic Research' approach would help by comparing your processes with others in the field to identify where improvements can be made. Alternatively, a 'Disruptive Innovation' team could implement a wider transformation that eliminates the problem by altering structures entirely.

"We need to start treating innovation like other business disciplines — as a set of tools that are designed to accomplish specific objectives," wrote Greg. "Just as we wouldn’t rely on a single marketing tactic or a single source of financing for the entire life of an organization, we need to build up a portfolio of innovation strategies designed for specific tasks."

Four types of innovation

You can use this chart as a guide to which approach you need to take when attempting to solve problems within your organisation. A combination of more than one type may be required at different stages of a project as the root cause of an issue or the skills required to tackle it become more clear.


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