Innovation as a concept is of utmost significance to understand as a manager and for the organisation entirely. Any organisation has innovation as its main competitive advantage. It provides the huge competitive advantage to the organisation to gain itself the key position in any industry. Innovation according to the Schmookler (1966), If a company develops a new product or service by using the certain inputs and change that would mean the company achieved a technical change, then the action would be regarded as an innovation. Innovation has been regarded as the key element in the advancement of the industrial era. It is also regarded as the common knowledge that leads the success for the private organisation (Schumpeter, 1934, 1946). We have seen the many organisations which keep their sustainability because of motivation, hard work and continuous improvement.
Today innovation is proving it be moving to the top of the political and administrative agenda in many advanced western democracies (Borins, 2008). It is being proved to be the big leap forward because failure to continues innovation can cost the private companies as deadly as they will gradually lose their market share, shrinking profits and competitive advantage before they can actually shut down (Sørensen and Torfing 2011).
According to the Centre for Process Innovation, Innovation does not come itself and for being innovative or to develop something that is commercially acceptable, it is worth taking time and have the necessary research about the challenges and problems that can be potentially faced by the organisation. (“The Innovation Process – CPI”, 2017).
The Innovation Process consists of the processes that involve the Identification of the goals and problems to be solved, Analysis, Development and Design, Conversion and Commercialisation (“The Innovation Process – CPI”, 2017). As the innovation involves the improvement of the current product or idea, so it requires the set of certain rules and procedures which needs to be followed time by time. That process simply involves the structured and measured set of activities which are designed to produce the certain output for specific customers or market (Gibson, 2015). Those elements of the process are key to achieve the benefits of the process innovation.
Difference between Incremental & Radical Innovation
A radical or disruptive innovation has a meaningful impact on a market and on the economic activity of firms in that market. The innovation could change the structure of the market, create new markets or extract existing products. But it might not be clear that the innovation is radical until the time it has been introduced. In Schumpeter’s view “radical” innovations create major disruptive changes, whereas “incremental” innovations continuously advance the process of change (Schumpeter, 1942).
Having explained the Radical Innovation initially, Incremental innovation is entirely opposing to the radical innovation which is concerned with an existing product, service, process, organization or method whose performance has been considerably improved or upgraded. This innovation does not actually change the entire product or the target market or the industry standards but it gives some addition to the existing product.
Innovation in Information Technology Sector
There are the many sectors where innovation is not hidden by anyone around the world but IT Industry has hit the breakthrough records of the innovations. Digital Library, Google, Video Chatting, Netflix and Models for facial expressions are few in the thousand examples that can be proved to be one of the most intelligent innovations in the modern era. IT Industry with no doubt has proved to be the continuously innovative with the time and catered the needs of the nations, businessmen, school, colleges and from small businesses to the conglomerates. The new changes have been brought by the IT firms in terms of innovation has been the incremental as well as radical innovations. The Incremental Innovation is where a new product or service is brought by adding the minor changes in the original product whereas some innovations which require the changing of the entire mechanics of the original product is termed as the Radical Innovation (Van de van et al. 1999).
Incremental Innovation in IT Sector
The rapidity of incremental innovation in the IT industry is quite high today because of the high competition for market share gain continues to increase by the day. Incremental Innovation is reliable and predictable, and it is easy to attract the investment from the investors because they can be easily convinced for the investment in Incremental Innovation (Gibson, 2015). Innovators, business tycoons and specialists often focus on creating revolutionary innovations to create new markets and categories for new technologies, products and services, which also help them in establishing a significant competitive advantage. Just like the other sectors of Industry, IT itself has made the unbelievable progress in terms of technological advancement and product manufacturing to cater the needs of the consumers.
Although any invention which later on moves towards the innovation – either radical or incremental has the great efforts and the hard work of its manufacturers. We have the example of the Steam Engine which set the standard of productivity and then bought the industrial revolution, Jet Plane which served as the benchmark for the air travel in terms of distance, time and communication and the commercialization of the internet. These were the first inventions of their type where further values were added time by time and today we are enjoying them at their extreme level (WIRED, 2017).
Now going towards in depth about the Incremental Innovation, we have the clear understanding about the product named as “iPhone” which is the well-known example of this kind of innovation. In late 2000 we had the heavy and large shaped mobile phones which provided only the basic access to the information and data communication. But in 2008, the digital revolution took place in the Telecommunication Industry when iPhone was launched. The concept was simple to just remove the buttons on the handset when they were no longer needed. So the touchscreen revolution took place in the mobile industry. When the users did not need the buttons anymore the phone was meant to switch to the offline mode while the call and messages can still be received. The Information Technology is changing the way of our lives, the way we work, the way we communicate with each other and the way we spend our time. This was the first step forward which led the incremental innovation in the mobile industry to its peak.
Another example from the Information Technology Industry of the Incremental Innovation is the Computer devices. In the earlier times, the processors of the computers took the huge amount of time just to process even the smaller number of calculations. But with the passage of time, the manufacturers like Intel & AMD have been continuously improving the speed and accuracy of the calculations. Every year the new Processors manufactured were larger in capacity and had more transistors into it (Gibson, 2015).
Global Positioning Satellite
Global Positioning Satellite used around different aspects of everyday life is also an example of the incremental innovation (Managing Creativity and Innovation, 2003). It is the global radio navigation satellite system of a network of orbital satellites and computers that provide precise geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver in all weather conditions and it was invented by an American Scientist named Roger L. Easten (Initial Results of the Navstar GPS NTS-2 Satellite (No. NRL-8232), 1978). Global Positioning Satellite nowadays is being used from finding the location to driving to destination from one place to another. Initially, the technology was used with the help of internet just for the location of servers and connecting to different servers while using the internet but its use has become so advanced that even the maps applications can be used even without the use of the internet. The users just need to download the application once to their mobile or handheld devices. The application with the help of available data and GPS can guide the users to travel from one place to his destination.
Today almost everyone is using GPS either intentionally or unintentionally but very few of us knows the history of the invention of the GPS. It was initially created for the military navigation (Managing Creativity and Innovation, 2003). With the incremental innovation, the GPS gained its usage from the military consumers to the civil consumers. Today GPS can be found from the average mobile phone to luxury vehicles. Incremental innovation has given this technology a wider market segmentation and market share.
Having discussed the different aspects of the Incremental Innovation, I can say that it requires the less effort for the continuous Incremental Innovation. Moreover, the companies require the less budget to allocate on the Research and Development for the new product. The beauty of this innovation is the radical innovation itself formed due to the continuous series of the radical innovation.
Radical Innovation/ Disruptive Innovation
While we have discussed the Incremental Innovation in the IT Industry and proved some of the facts with the relevant sources, now I will discuss the Radical Innovation. While the incremental innovation is the improvement of the existing product or service, the Radical Innovation, on the other hand, is something new to the world and withdrawal from the existing technology or method. It is always in the workplace somewhere most likely in the Research & Development Labs or in the mind of the entrepreneurs or the scientists. It usually takes more time to generate and to come in the marketplace (Managing Creativity and Innovation, 2003).
The Radical Innovation can change sometimes the scenario of the entire industry. If some new radical innovation is introduced then the rest of the competitors may be forced to change their entire business models and products. Radical innovations mostly are the way to change the lifestyle of the consumers and most of the innovations which are being used as our daily lifestyle are the examples of the radical innovation. The Laptops for an instance is the also example of the radical innovation which has entirely changed the behaviour of its users. Before the innovation, which caused the laptops to be in existence. Many offices, universities and even home users used Personal Computers. Using the personal computers didn’t only require the large space and the users to sit on the specific place to sit and use due to immobility of the computers but also in many developing countries the users faced problems of the electricity as well which frequently caused the loss of data while using computers.
After this radical innovation, it didn’t only changed the behaviour of the users but also started the new competition in this sector of IT Industry. Many companies had to change their entire business model and business working. Therefore, Radical Innovations change the basis of competition in favour of the innovator (Managing Creativity and Innovation, 2003).
In the same way, Henry Ford’s design of the automobile changed the mode of the auto industry and IBM’s introduction of the electric typewriter lead to the end of the all manual typewriter.
It can be easily concluded by the above-presented facts that the innovation in any field or in any sector of the business, is a big step forward towards the development of the business and to the overall industry. Today we are living in the world which is full of new discoveries and innovations and made of lives comfortable and even made of more advanced knowledge as well as facilities wise.
The radical innovation is the breakthrough in any industry because of the fact that this innovation brings the new additions to the industry but on the other hand it requires lots of efforts and potential to be developed. Even the large business organisations spend a large amount of budget to the research and development for the innovation. But the beneficiaries can get the whole game in hand. They can win the entire market, if not forever but at the initial stages and can set up their own profit rule.
On the other hand, incremental innovation is itself of great importance. It has the very low research and development budget comparatively. Moreover, this innovation can be adopted by any company just like Apple which can time by time, add some more features and can enjoy the win-win scenario of the market. Incremental Innovation usually prepares the business for future growth and creates the new niche, enhance the efficiency of the business and increases the quarterly profits of the business.
Therefore, Incremental Innovation is more feasible and less exposed to risk comparative to the Radical Innovation. It is usually based on the existing knowledge and resources and is very important for the overall lifespan of the original product as well as organisation.