Business Innovation – 2 Types

What type of business innovator are you?

Are planning for disruptive innovation or incremental innovation?

Incremental innovation defined

An incremental or sustaining innovation is typically an improvement to an existing product. The business model  doesn’t change and the business runs pretty much the same except it enjoys the benefits the new innovation may bring to efficiency and profitability.

Disruptive innovation defined

The Innovator's DilemmaA disruptive innovation is a completed different beast. The term ‘disruptive innovation’ was first coined by Clayton Christensen who authored a book on the topic called ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business‘ in 1997.

Subsequent to that book he published a book title ‘The Innovator’s The Innovator's SolutionSolution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth‘ in 2003.

A disruptive innovation involves a radical change in the business model. It also has a high degree of uncertainty with respect to the business model that could eventually make it successful.

Related article – Disruptive Technology Example and Insights

Here’s the problem

The management style and culture that sustains an existing business model doesn’t fit the way a disruptive innovation needs to be managed.

A sustaining innovation fits the management model of executing on an existing and proven business model.

A disruptive innovation fits the Lean Startup and customer discovery methods of learning and discovery. This styles fits the much high level of uncertainty.

Related articleThe Customer Development Process

The Innovator's DNAChristensen co-authored a third book, ‘The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators‘ which describes the attributes of a disruptive innovators and how their organizations operate.

The book should have been called ‘The Disruptive Innovator’s DNA’ because it really focuses on the attributes required  for disruptive innovation.

Why does this matter?

If a startup can embrace the methods and behaviors of disruptive innovation, it can sneak up on the larger competitors who are busy executing their existing business model and making incremental innovations. The way the competition runs their business will discourage disruptive opportunities.

This is good for business startups

When you are ready to disrupt your industry, just let us know, we would be glad to help!



Author: Paul Foster
Paul's life’s purpose is to bring more cash, freedom and happiness to independent business owners. Paul wants to learn about your toughest business challenges and frustrations so he can help you tackle them.

Leave a Reply