Incremental versus Radical Innovation (disruptive innovation, too)

Audio Clip: Radical vs Incremental Innovation

Avatar Picture of DaynaRecently someone asked me, “Can you give me an example of radical versus incremental innovation – and throw in an example of distruptive innovation, too.” This is what I said:

My great grandmother (Nana) lived to be 99 years old. We asked her what was the most amazing technology she ever saw, “Was it when man first walked on the moon?”

“No,” she said; “what moved my heart and shocked my mind was at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. I saw a man ascend in a hot air balloon. That was the first time in my life I realized man would fly. Everything from that moment on was an obvious next step.”

When you cause a ‘perceptional shift’, when you rock someone’s paradigm, when you disrupt their psychological inertia, then you have reached the heart of radical innovation and that is always disruptive.

The reason this radical innovation (perceptional shift) excites us so much is because it opens up a whole new frontier of next steps even if those next steps are very far away at the horizon. Radical innovation allows us to move forward in imagination when we were stuck at the edge of what we knew.