15 Forms of Innovation

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At least 15 different forms of innovation are being practiced today

Most subject matter experts agree the word “innovation” is overused and misunderstood.  We are in large part responsible for this confusion because there are at least 15 different forms of innovation  being practiced today.


The latest addition to the innovation stable is The Lean Startup, authored by Eric Reis. The “Minimal Viable Product” concept has merit when you are developing software or a new app, but when you are developing a new pharmaceutical or a new commercial aircraft, minimal viable product sounds to us like a non-starter.


The 15 Forms of Innovation

The fifteen forms are captured in the two slides below.  We’ve provided the names of the primary proponent(s)/guru(s) their affiliation and the country where they are based today.



Definitions for the 15 Forms of Innovation are provided in the Glossary Section of Value Innovation Works.

At Value Innovations, and we recognize we are biased, we firmly believe that Value Innovation is the “best way” to  manage your Front End of Innovation.  Value Innovation was first described by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne in their paper, “Value Innovation:  The Strategic Logic of High Growth” published in 1997 (Harvard Business Review – January-February, 103-112).  They built on the Value Innovation Platform with their book Blue Ocean Strategy published in 2005.  The most widely published book in the history of Harvard Business School Press, it does not provide the reader with a clearly defined process or a complete set of enabling tools.

The first Value Innovation Process was published in 2005 and is described in a paper authored by Tom Dillon (SAIC), Richard K Lee (Value Innovations, Inc.) and David Matheson (SmartOrg): “Value Innovation: Passport to Wealth Creation.” [Research*Technology Management, 48(2), 22-36 (2005)]. Since 2005, the Value Innovation Process has been used and simplified. Value Innovation Works, published in 2012, provides the reader with the trademarked 10-Step Value Innovation Process®, a complete set of enabling tools, many examples and success stories.


Are you aware of other forms being practiced today?  Would you be willing to share the name(s) of the proponent, their affiliation and where the are practicing?  We’d love to hear from you.

Want to up your innovation game? Want to up your organization’s innovation game? Attending one of our Mastering Value Innovation Workshops is a great place to start. In 2016 we are going to change our approach. We will work with you to develop your own custom workshop that addresses your problems and you define the length and location. More information can be found in the Workshop Brochure.