Sometimes changing a small feature is enough to improve a product’s market position and make it completely innovative. Incremental innovation is a kind of small improvement and it can be applied to a company’s existing products, services, processes, or methods. This translates into lowering the risk of bad investment as much as possible.
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, where innovation failure rates are very high, it is very important to go one step at a time. And this is something that should be addressed on the innovation strategy level. Focus is mostly on the product’s efficiency, productivity, and technological advancements.
Incremental innovation is an approach that brings clear benefits to businesses using it, such as:
Competitiveness ‒ developing a new generation of the product while simultaneously gaining profit from the current version;
Affordability ‒ company doesn’t have to allocate a huge amount of financial resources at once;
Accessibility ‒ it is easier to execute innovation when your customers are used to a certain type of product than pitching them a whole new one;
Knowledge ‒ this type of innovation is often subject to phase-gate methodology in innovation projects, which puts it under control when it comes to costs and risks.
One of the main characteristics of this type of innovation is that it uses existing technology and existing markets. Although it is the most commonly used one, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. In order to meet customer’s needs, brands are adding brand extensions to stay relevant, but very few customers consider this as innovative. For example, Coca Cola is constantly innovating incrementally by launching new tastes to its brand portfolio.
Why is this important?
Two main reasons: keeping up with competitors and holding the market’s position. In terms of continuous improvement of efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility, this type of innovation can be related to product innovation or organizational innovation.
The goal of every organization should be to motivate their employees to get involved in the improvement work. Most often, the greatest potential lies within the front line workers who notice opportunities for improvement that are directly related to their daily work.
One of the proven methods to accomplish this is to utilize the advantages of an innovation management software that covers the whole innovation process starting from idea management, over the new product development process and all the way to the market analysis of the innovation itself. This way, the innovation potential of your organization is completely focused on increasing the effectiveness and/or efficiency of your business to achieve its goals and objectives.
Continuously innovating in an incremental way can also boost your loss prevention efforts. It is in fact cheaper to perform incremental innovations because it saves you from added expenses of new research, knowledge, equipment, and major investments. Also, your whole organization’s response can be quicker and more accurate if you let your staff directly identify things that will make the organization more efficient. To find out how Innovation Cloud can assist you in your next innovation, request a free demo and our experienced innovation consultants will provide you with more information.