In our previous post we explained that, to bring clarity to any conversation on innovation, you need to distinguish between three different types of innovation, heavily borrowed from Harvard professor Clayton Christensen: efficiency, sustaining, and transformative innovation.
In this post, we'll share 3 situations where the 3 types of innovation framework helps unlock radically better innovation outcomes in large organizations.
To get the best possible outcomes from innovation efforts, we don’t believe in “letting a thousand flowers bloom”. We have developed the Strategic Guidance framework to help leaders clearly align Innovation Projects with Corporate Strategy. This Innovation guidance should provide a clear direction in order to design and maintain a strong innovation portfolio. As part of this portfolio guidance, we at Strategyzer always use the three types of innovation framework to help leaders make explicit which type(s) of innovation they are after.
We help organizations assess their true innovation capability via our Innovation Readiness Assessment Sprint. One part of the assessment focuses on the current innovation portfolio of the organization. And we use the three types of innovation to assess the balance of the innovation portfolio. Working with leaders and key stakeholders we position all ongoing innovation projects in the appropriate type and check the current balance between efficiency, sustaining and transformative innovation. The current portfolio balance becomes explicit and visual. This is often an eye opener for leaders and key stakeholders.
When working with leaders we use the current balance of the innovation portfolio to make potential misalignments explicit. For instance, we worked recently with the Managing Director (MD) of a business unit (BU) in a Pharma company looking for new growth from the BU innovation portfolio (non-drug related innovation). Mapping the current portfolio along the three types of innovation highlighted that the portfolio was massively geared towards efficiency innovation with just a few sustaining innovation projects. If the MD is after new growth but the innovation portfolio is almost entirely committed to efficiency innovation then this can only lead to disappointing outcomes. That’s a scenario we see time and time again. And in that case, work needs to happen with leaders to either re-align growth expectations or radically rebalancing the innovation portfolio towards more sustaining and transformative innovation.
As a summary, to get the best possible outcomes from innovation efforts use the 3 types of innovation framework to: