Innovative products are no longer radical

Innovations used to be radical but in our society we only innnovate incremental

innovate in existing innovations

Innovative products are no longer radical


When we talk about innovation, we can distinguish two different types of innovation: the incremental innovation and the radical innovation.

Whereas  incremental innovation tend to change step by step, the radical innovation completely changes the current situation. 

If we look at the history of radical innovation, we find i.a electricity, the internet but also the refrigerator, the digital camera and Amazon. These innovation radically changed the way we work, live and interact with each other. Without these inventions our whole way of life would be completely different. Incremental innovation is  more in the direction of the improvement  of the current product or situation.

But can we say that we still radically  innovate products in our time? I do not think so.

If we look at recent  breakthroughs in innovative product, such as   the Smartphone or the tablet which are  both examples of breakthroughs, , do we ever question whether or not they are really that extraordinary? In my opinion these innovations are incremental innovation, step by step pushing forward  and improving the products that are already present. The Smartphone  is an improved device . It already consisted of a screen, call feature and working memory.  But by adding  a more powerful What  is interesting is the fact that all parts were already there. Working  memory was used by computers and only needed to be reduced in order to fit in the smartphone, the same goes to have changed radically . This is because before the first iPad there had never been a similar product in its catagory . But how different is the tablet from the smartphone or a laptop . When taking the size of a small laptop and the processing power of a Smartphone  the tablet arises and clearly shows that this is  step by step innovation.

What we see is a trend that went from radical innovation to incremental innovation. The radical innovations, and changes that it brought, were truly essential to the way we live. But radical innovations are dangerous and full of uncertainties. Incremental innovation on the other hand does have its shortcomings  but, because it is implemented over a long period of time , is easier  to control. If companies can innovate by fitting multiple parts together and thereby  creating a new market they do  innovate. But because the technology is already present in these different parts companies only have to search for the ideal combination to achieve success in the market . This is a safer way to innovate and re-uses  known knowledge.