Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Innovation Radar

What is innovation? Exactly? Although innovation is curently amongst the top-issues of many corporations, many executives have a wrong, too narrow view of it. They see innovation as synonymous with New Product Development or Traditional R&D.

To clarify this error, Professors Mohanbir Sawhney, Robert C. Wolcott and Inigo Arroniz in the MIT Sloan Management Review (Spring 2006) introduce their Innovation Radar. The radar features four major dimensions that serve as business anchors:

  • Offerings a company creates (WHAT).
  • Customers it serves (WHO).
  • Processes it employs (HOW).
  • Points of Presence it uses to take its offerings to market (WHERE).

Spread over these 4 main dimensions, companies can innovate their businesses far broader in scope than product or technological innovation: a company can actually innovate along any of 12 different dimensions, including the main 4 ones I already mentioned:

  1. Offerings.
  2. Platform.
  3. Solutions.
  4. Customers.
  5. Customer experience.
  6. Value capture.
  7. Processes.
  8. Organization.
  9. Supply chain.
  10. Presence.
  11. Networking.
  12. Brand.

The innovation radar can help to broaden the innovation focus in companies and to show that innovation is about creating new value, not about creating new products.