Four innovation ways for solving problems

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Innovation is not a one-way road

June 28, 2017

Practitioners' Guide

Organisation leaders often act as if innovation has one path only, failing to see it as a complex, multifaceted business discipline, with a set of tools to meet different objectives. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, the speaker and innovation advisor Greg Satell explores four different types of innovation and how each can solve problems, thus helping companies choose the best strategy for innovation.

The author of the book Mapping Innovation draws a matrix based on two questions: How well can we define the problem? and How well can we define the skill domain(s) needed to solve it? The answers can help leaders more easily identify the most adequate of four innovation strategies for doing specific tasks or solving specific problems, Greg explains.

Often the most popular type, sustaining innovation can help companies get better at what they already do and strengthen their offer on an ongoing basis. Breakthrough innovation allows leaders and managers to explore unusual abilities, using, for instance, open innovation initiatives. Coined by Clayton Christensen, disruptive innovation goes deeper, questions what you have and what you are, and pushes companies to innovate business models. Finally, basic research can help organisations unveil trends and new phenomena allied with innovation.

To explain the relevance of choosing the right strategy and of keeping your sources of innovation open, Greg tells the story of a marine biologist who solved a one-million-dollar problem and still offered everyone dinner. Learn how here.

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