Incremental innovation: Definition and examples

Incremental innovation to involve your employees in your corporate innovation program.

Incremental innovation: concepts and examples 

While not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, anyone can have an idea that can transform an intention into a viable business or turn a frozen process into a growth lever.  

Two main types of innovation are often mentioned: incremental innovation and disruptive innovation, but there are others.

What are the characteristics of incremental innovation, and how do companies turn it into a major competitive advantage? 

Innovation incrémentale

Incremental innovation: Definitions 

It’s a new feature added to an existing product or service, which improves it without radically transforming it. It’s a change that doesn’t transform anything, but improves what already exists, with very little risk taken. Incremental innovations may concern an existing product that is developed further, or a new product created from an existing product to which a new feature is added.  

When it comes to meeting customer expectations, incremental innovation is a great tool. The simple act of adding new features or adding something extra to a service appreciated by consumers can create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

Here are a few examples of incremental innovation that have had major success in the marketplace 

One example of incremental innovation is Coca-Cola’s Cherry Coke. The American beverage giant created a new range based on its best-seller by adding cherry flavoring. 

Gillette is another good example of a continuous improvement approach. The brand’s razors started out as a single-blade product. Today, it offers several blades with different characteristics to suit their market. 

Finally, other examples such as Golf Volkswagen or smartphone manufacturers are also very telling and can be found here. 

In what context should incremental innovation be favored? 

Although incremental innovation may seem less attractive than other types of innovation, it is undoubtedly the easiest and most effective to implement in an organization.  

It is perfectly suited to collaborative innovation, which draws on the company’s collective intelligence.

It enables you to actively involve your employees, who are familiar with the problems in the field and most certainly with the solutions to be found. The major advantage of incremental innovation is its ability to deliver concrete results in the short term.  

Incremental innovation is to be enjoyed without moderation! 

Ofer Attali
Ofer Attali

CTO de Yumana

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