Updated in 2/22/2011 9:00:45 PM      Viewed: 218 times      (Journal Article)
MIT Sloan Management Review 47 (3): 75+

The 12 Different Ways for Companies to Innovate

Faced with the prospects of slow growth, commoditization and global competition, companies like General Electric Co., Microsoft Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have now emphasized innovation as critical to their future success. But what exactly is innovation? Although the subject has risen to the top of the CEO agenda, many companies have a mistakenly narrow view of it. They might see innovation as synonymous with new product development or traditional research and development. But such myopia can lead to the systematic erosion of competitive advantage. As a result, companies in a given industry can come to resemble one another over time. In actuality, business innovation is far broader in scope than product or technological innovation. In fact, a company can innovate along any of 12 different dimensions with respect to its 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, and 12. brand. Together the 12 dimensions of innovation can be displayed in a new framework called the innovation radar, which companies can use to manage the increasingly complex business systems through which they add value.