August 10, 2011

Innovation and its types...

The term “Innovation” suddenly seems to be in everyone’s vocabulary these days, while some use it as a layman term, the people belonging to science and law fraternity would actually know what it means beyond its simple definition. Innovation happen everywhere, some big some small but can you categorize it? This question lingered in my mind while I was sitting in the IP Management class. The answer to this question is yes and this blog is all about types of innovation with examples.

Now, in terms of IP, innovation can be broadly categorized into 3 parts:
1. Product zone
2. Customer intimacy Zone
3. Operational excellence Zone

Product Zone- innovations of this zone are most talked about and well known and can be further classified into following:
a. Disruptive Innovation- can be broadly termed as breakthrough technology, which revolutionizes that particular field in which the innovation is made. It displaces the existing technology and helps to create new market. For example- Mobile phones and Xerox machines.
This invention helped people to communicate with their loved ones from any part of the world. Gradually the size decreased and now everyone from a businessman to a vegetable vendor owns one.
b. Application innovation- it provides new market for the old products by finding unexploited use of them, for example- use of fault tolerant computers to run an ATM.
c. Platform innovation- these are the ones that leads to the practical application of fundamental innovations. Example- Qualcomm repositioning its CDMA technology from a product differentiating ingredient in its own product to an enabling element for 3G wireless telephony.
Customer intimacy Zone
a. Line- extension innovation- it makes structural modification to existing product to create a new sub category with an aim to capture the attention of new customer base, for example- introduction of minivan and SUV in automobile sector.
b. Enhancement innovation- this type of innovation focuses only on one particular property or application of an existing product with an aim to making it finer by each improvement. For example- ice makers in refrigerators.
Operational excellence Zone-
a. Value engineering innovation- such types of innovation focuses on substituting material or a method with a less expensive alternative without compromising on the functionality. For example- TV, PC etc.
b. Integration innovation- this type of innovation seeks to combine the existing innovations into a single centrally managed system. For example- mobiles with camera and FM radio.
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