Analysis conducted on 40 years of innovation research contained in over 1,070 articles revealed that the two topics most linked to the published papers are disruptive and radical innovation. Disruptive and radical innovation describe very different processes and require entirely different responses from incumbents. Mistaking the two can cause organizations to focus on the wrong initiatives and may result in an inability to cope with the changes they face.
Research enables us to break down the source of disruptive innovation to being a combination between business model innovation and technology. This can be caused by new entrants exploiting over-looked market segments or their creation of a new market that was previously untapped. Research demonstrates that disruptive innovation often commences with new entrants using variations on current industry business models to gain a foothold in the low end of the market. Disruptive innovation also commonly stems from companies with inferior resources to industry incumbents.
Radical innovation on the other hand is caused by entirely new products or ideas, where a business successfully commercializes a break through idea. Radical innovation is heavily reliant on the organizational capabilities and human capital that enable organizations to create products that cause long-term impact.
To appropriately cope with either disruptive or radical innovations, its is critical for organizations to first understand which type of innovation they are facing. Responses to radical innovation must focus on organizational and dynamic capabilities and should also include initiatives that empower your organization's human capital. Responding to disruptive innovation must focus on adjusting organizational strategies to meet changing customer needs. One thing is for certain, the role of digital in both in undeniable.
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