Innovation Radical Innovation

Topics: Innovation, IPod, User innovation Pages: 35 (9713 words) Published: February 16, 2013
Chapter 2 Types of Innovation

LEARNING OBJECTIVES When you have completed this chapter you will be able to:

Distinguish the different forms that innovation can take, such as product, process and service innovation

Differentiate and distinguish between the different types of innovation, such as radical and incremental innovation

• •

Describe each type of innovation Analyse different types of innovation in terms of their impact on human behaviour, business activity and society as a whole.


The notion that innovation is essentially about the commercialisation of ideas and inventions suggests that it is relatively straightforward and simple. Far from it, not only is the step from invention to commercially successful innovation often a large one that takes much effort and time, innovations can and do vary enormously. In addition the term ‘innovation’ is widely used, probably because it frequently has very positive associations, and is often applied to things that really have little to do with innovation, certainly in the sense of technological innovation. The purpose of this


chapter is to try and produce some sort of order from the apparent chaos and confusion surrounding innovation.


If innovation comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and is used by different people to mean different things then making coherent sense of the subject is not an easy task. Grouping innovations into categories can help. Essentially by putting innovations in groups it should make it easier to make sense of innovation as a whole simply because one can then take each group in turn and subject it to detailed scrutiny. If it is easier to make sense of a small group than large one then we should be on the way to making sense of innovation.

Two kinds of categorization are attempted. The first centres on different forms of innovation. Form in the sense in which the term is used here applies to the use or application of the innovation. Three applications are considered: product, service and process innovations.

The second categorization is based on the degree of novelty associated with the innovation. It implies that there are different degrees of novelty associated with innovation. As a result, one sometimes finds that things described as innovations actually involve little or no novelty. Take the case of a new wrapper for a chocolate bar. For the people marketing the product, the new wrapper may well appear to be a significant innovation, hence justifying the use of words like innovation and innovative in promotional campaigns. But the reality is that if the same type of


wrapper is already in use on other similar products there really is very little innovation. On the other hand one can have innovations such as television, developed by John Logie Baird, which not only transformed the nature of leisure time, created a new creative industry and provided employment for thousands, but also went on to transform a whole host of other aspects of our society including politics, advertising, the provision of information and sport. Recognising different degrees of novelty, this categorization considers four types: radical, architectural, modular and incremental.


This categorization is based on the idea of applications or uses for innovation. By this we mean areas or fields where innovations are used. It is possible to differentiate three principal applications for innovation: products, services and processes.

Product Innovation

Product innovations loom large in the public imagination. Products, especially consumer products are probably the most obvious innovation application. The Dyson bagless vacuum cleaner is an example of a product innovation. James Dyson developed what he terms ‘dual cyclone’ technology (Dyson, 1997) and used it to create a new more efficient vacuum cleaner. As a vacuum cleaner it is a consumer product and what...

References: Basalla, G. (1988) The Evolution of Technology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Baylis, T. (1999) Clock This: My Life as an Inventor, Headline Publishing
Cassidy, J
Chapman, S.D. (2002) Hosiery and Knitwear: Four Centuries of Small-Scale Industry in Britain c1589-2000, Pasold Research Fund/Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Christensen, C.M. (1993) The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Mass.
Davis, W. (1987) The Innovators, Ebury Press, London.
Dogannis, R. (2001) The airline business in the 21st century, Routledge, London.
Dyson, J. (1997) Against the odds: An Autobiography, Orion Business.
Ettlie, J.E., Bridges, W.P. and O’Keefe, R.D. (1984) Organizational strategy and structural differences for radical vs. incremental innovation, Management Science, 30, pp682-695.
Hanlon, P. (1999) Global Airlines: Competition in a transnational industry, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.
Henderson, R.M. and Clark, K.B. (1990) Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms, Administrative Science Quarterly, 35 pp9-30.
Henry, J. and Walker, D. (1991) Managing Innovation, Sage Publications.
Hughes, T.P. (1989) American Genesis: A Century of Innovation and Technological Enthusiasm 1870-1970, Viking, NY.
Howells, J. (2005) The Management of Innovation and Technology, Sage Publications, London.
Kamm, A. and Baird, M. (2002) John Logie Baird, National Museum of Scotland.
Naughton, J. (2002) Never ask permission to innovate, The Observer, 3rd November 2002, p17.
Nelson, R. and Winter, S. (1982) An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Petroski, H. (1992) The Evolution of Useful Things, Alfred A. Knopf, NY.
Procter, J. (1994) Everyone versus South West, Airways, November-December 1994, pp22-29.
Quinn, J.B. (1991) The Strategy Process: Concepts, Contexts, Cases, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Rothwell, R. (1986) The role of small firms in the emergence of new technologies, in Freeman, C. (ed.) Design, Innovation and Long Cycles in Economic Development, Frances Pinter, London, pp231-248.
Rothwell, R. and Gardner, D. (1989) The strategic management of re-innovation, R & D Management, 19 (2) pp147-160.
Sanderson, S. and Uzumeri, M. (1995) Managing product families: The case of the Sony Walkman, Research Policy, 24, pp761-782.
Tushman, M.L. and Anderson, P. (1986) Technological discontinuities and organisational environments, Administrative Science Quarterly, 31, pp439-465.
Van Dulken, S. (2002) Inventing the 20th Century: 100 Inventions that Shaped the World, British Library, London.
Walker, R. (2003) The Guts of the New Machine, The New York Times, 30th November 2003, p68
Womack, J.P
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on Innovation: Marketing and Sony
  • Essay about INNOVATION
  • innovation report Essay
  • Innovation Essay
  • Innovation Essay
  • Essay about Innovation
  • Innovation Essay
  • Essay about Innovation

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free