logo2-trans15 + Types of Innovation


8 February 2016



A surprising number of people still think innovation is only about creating new products and services.  Here, building on the work of consulting company Doblin, we list 15+ forms of innovation.   See:  https://www.doblin.com/ten-types/

“Currently the greatest innovations are occurring in business models and the form of the business organization itself,” says Neville.



Category Innovations and description Example
FINANCE BUSINESS and Profit MODELHow your enterprise makes money in the marketplace. Dell revolutionized the personal computer business model by getting paid before the consumer’s PC was even assembled or shipped – resulting in net positive working capital of 7-8 days. Netflix used a subscription model and on-line downloads, to turn the video rental industry on its head.


NETWORK/VALUE CHAINHow you join, partner, ally, connect with other groups and companies to create value for customer and mutual benefit.


Australian retail chain, Myer, in reinventing itself, works with well-known international fashion designers. Packaged foods company Sara Lee saw its core competencies were in consumer insight, brand management, marketing, and distribution. So, it divested itself of most of its manufacturing and formed alliances with manufacturing and supply chain partners.


PROCESS CORE PROCESSES How you use differentiated proprietary or superior processestodo your work, and add value to your offerings. Wal-mart continues to dominate its industry through core process innovations such as real-time inventory management systems, aggressive volume/pricing/delivery contracts with suppliers, using in-store apps and technologies, and having systems that give store managers the ability to identify changes in buyer behaviour and respond quickly with new pricing and merchandising packages. Zara’s fast fashion strategy moves its garments from design to retail stores in record times.


ENABLING or SUPPORT PROCESSESHow your routine, non-core processes support your company’s core processes and workers–and are often outsourced to others.  Starbucks can deliver its profitable coffee/store experience to customers because it offers better-than-market compensation and employment benefits to its store workers – usually part-time, educated, professional and responsive people.
OFFERING PRODUCT –SERVICE PERFORMANCEHow you design your core offerings to provide distinctive benefits, features and functions.  The VW Beatle – in both its original and newest form – took the market by storm, combining multiple dimensions of product performance. See also the Tesla car.
PRODUCT-SERVICE SYSTEM/PACKAGESHow you link and/or provide a platform for multiple products with an array of tailored, integrated components  Microsoft Office bundles a variety of specific products – Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc – into a system designed to deliver productively in the workplace. Nike+ transformed shoes, sensors, apps and devices into a suite of sport lifestyle.
CUSTOMER SERVICEHow you provide value and assistance to customers and potential customers beyond and around your products. An international flight on any airlines will get you to your intended designation – hopefully!   A flight on Singapore Airlines, however, nearly makes you forget that you are flying at all, with the most attentive, respectful, and pampering pre-flight, in-flight, and post-services you can imagine. On-line retailer  Zappos has as their core #1 value to deliver WOW through service. Zappos hires foremost for culture fit.


DELIVERY CHANNELSHow you get your offerings to market. What your conduits are through which your offerings reach the market  Ecover, the world’s largest green cleaning company, distributes through over 40,000 retailers world-wide but has also created a “People Against Dirty” community  which provides perks, deals, and early looks at new offerings. Nespresso locks in customers with its members only club.


BRANDHow you communicate your offerings to customers. The promises you make and keep  Absolut conquered the vodka category on the strength of a brilliant ‘theme and variations’ advertising concept, strong bottle and packaging design, and a whiff of Nordic authenticity. Virgin extends its brand from music, to railways and airlines, from soft drinks to space travel.


CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT How you foster distinctive interactions with your customers and potential customer.

All aspects of the interaction of each customer with your company and its brands.


Harley Davidson has created a worldwide community of millions of customers, many of whom would describe ‘being a Harley Davidson owner’ as a part of how they fundamentally see, think, and feel about themselves. In bringing relevance to your home, Ikea is always creating compelling content to share with family and friends.
STRUCTURE ORGANISATIONAL FORM AND SYSTEMSHow the work done is organized, communicated, motivated. And how your Talent, assets and resources are aligned to company Purpose. The old organizational form was often structured and hierarchical. Now many new forms exist:  virtual organizations, micro-businesses, networked businesses based on multi-level marketing, confederations of entrepreneurs, franchises, teams of affiliates, businesses with soul,  strategic innovation boards, joint ventures, etc.Australian managed services firm, Centorinno Technologies has built a robust early-warning system that ensures all team members are aligned to providing exemplary customer service.


 LEADING How the people and processes by which your organization is envisioned, directed and influenced are ‘led’ towards goals and their achievement.  Leading is also in extraordinary flux as we see ‘leadership organisations’, ‘self-managing individuals’, ‘organizations of one’, team leading, etc. GE, one of the world’s most innovative digital companies, is organized around a global exchange of knowledge – the “GE Store”. During Jack Welch’s 21-year tenure as Chairman and CEO, the company made extraordinary innovative gains, and corporate value rose 4,000%


MANAGING How your organization forms into teams and how those teams are directed, supervised and allied.  See leading
CULTUREHow you create a shared system of assumptions, beliefs and values that govern how all team members behave. Twitter team members rave about their company culture:  Rooftop meetings, friendly co-workers, team-orientation with strong focus on goals, free meals, yoga classes. Unlimited holidays for some.  And most importantly a company doing what matters in the world.

  • Incremental
  • Sustainable
  • Frugal
  • Radical
  • Open source
  • Experience
  • Disruptive
  • User-led


For a different take on types of innovation see, “The Gentle Art of Smart Stealing,” https://thegentleartofsmartstealing.wordpress.com/types-of-innovation/
Return to Home