Innovation type 3: Radical
Knowing what type of innovation will suit your business needs and investment appetite is crucial in building a Product Strategy that works for your brand.
Whenever I ask people to describe ‘innovation’ they will often come up with a scene that involves professors in labs locked away for years, big ambitions, backed by major businesses or universities, on very expensive projects that may or may not change the world. So, just like that first ambition to put a man on the moon, it’s no wonder that ‘innovation’ seems scary and unattainable!
However this innovation is the most extreme type and is actually not that common, being quite a small part of the total innovation world.
Putting it at its simplest Radical innovation can best be described as a new and significantly different approach to a market that you may or may not already be in.
It isn’t only bigger companies that get involved in this – look at the tech unicorns many of which are start ups - however it requires a big idea, deep pockets and perseverance as this type innovation doesn’t happen overnight.
But it is often this type of invention that significantly moves on our knowledge as a society, such as the jet engine, nano technology, and personal computers.
A sound understanding of Intellectual Property and a good Patent Attorney will help protect you from copycats and, if you should choose to license the invention, potentially provide you with an additional long term revenue stream through royalties. Make sure you apply for protection in all of the key markets that you will want to trade in, even if they are not active at the initial launch as once your product is out in the wider market you will be unable to easily protect it.
The world is littered with famous failures, so there's no guarantee of success. Some concepts that seem to have been with us for a long time, such as the 2-wheel Segway (something I loved doing in San Francisco a few years ago), have failed to really take off for a variety of reasons - whether that's low consumer interest, failure to solve a real problem, high costs, or concerns regarding safety and use. It's probably true that more investments in 'radical' innovation ultimately fail to deliver on their promise than those that are world-beaters, but if you do find a way to fill a gap in the market that is truly different huge returns can result.
But if this seems a little too extreme for you, there are still 3 other types of Innovation – Disruptive, Incremental, and Structural – that might be a better fit with your business.
If you are not sure which type of innovation will work for you why not take the quick innovation quiz and find out within a couple of minutes www.helencooper.com/innovation-quiz-1