Are we all familiar with the term innovation? Innovation means acquiring new ideas, some incredible thoughts, and imaginations, and a new way to do things. We imagine innovation to be a challenging thing done by a mad scientist, but it is happening every day in products and companies. Think about all the new products on Product Hunt every day.
Even among many types of innovations, there are two types of them, known as continuous innovations and radical innovations. To understand these terms better, we need to know what they are.
In this blog post, we will compare the difference between continuous innovation and radical innovation and how the world of startups and technology have used both to innovate and evolved.
Continuous innovation is about adding something to a concept which already exists. It is about modest, incremental, ongoing upgrades or enhancements of an existing product, service, or technologies. We are experiencing that every day in San Francisco as a new startup seems to pop up all the time with a new idea or an implementation of an old existing product. Some of these "innovations" would not stick unless there is mass adoption. And if it doesn't succeed, one must make continuous improvement, which is a method to identify opportunities while reducing waste in the process, which lean startup is all about. Continuous innovation stresses the flexibility in making strategies as well as the effectiveness of operations, especially in a business management situation.
A good example would be the iPod. Remember the iPod? iPod was an mp3 player, but Apple didn't invent the mp3 player. Tomislav Uzelac created it, but Apple made continuous innovations to the iPod with the round turning for song selection instead of buttons.
Radical innovation is about a product that destroys or supplants an existing business model in the market. A lot of startups in Silicon Valley, especially in software, are engaged in radical innovation. This type of innovation is not made for achieving short term goals. Your current ideas and processing will be fruitful in future when implied.
Let's go back to Apple. The iPhone is a radical innovation. Before iPhone was out, who'd have thought a phone could do everything that it could do? It made the flip phone irrelevant and changed up the whole industry.
Another example would be Netflix. Netflix entered the home entertainment industry in 1997 selling mail-order DVD rentals, which by the way, they still do if you live in rural America with lousy internet. At the time, Blockbuster dominated the market and didn't see Netflix as a threat. And in 2000, Netflix offered Blockbuster to buy it for $50million. The executives were so blindly shortsighted that they laughed at the offer. Look who is laughing now?
Although there are differences in continuous and radical innovation, it is very obvious that companies could use both to adapt to the times. Although both of these are contrasting, the applications of these two in the modern world still cover a wide range. Many companies focus on these concepts to put them into action. Be like Apple, adapt to the times, and eventually change the game instead of being like Blockbuster, who was left behind in the dust.