From WikID

Innovation is the creation and application of new products, services, processes and technologies. The activities that are performed for innovation are described in the product innovation process. In innovation literature, innovation is often described in relation with invention. For example, Innovation Zen uses this definition: “Invention refers to new concepts or products that derive from individual’s ideas or from scientific research. Innovation, on the other hand, is the commercialization of the invention itself.”[1]

Different types of innovation are characterized by:

  • The rate of innovation: incremental versus radical innovation.
  • The outcome of the innovation: for example product innovation, process innovation and business innovation.
  • The source of innovation: for example user-driven innovation, technology-driven innovation, open innovationdesign-driven innovation and brand-driven innovation.

Rate of innovation

The rate of innovation of a design project can be represented by the familiarity matrix. The lower the project is on both scales, the less risk is involved with the project and the higher the success rate. The lower left square represents the lowest risk with a success rate of 75%. The upper right square, also called the suicide square, has the highest risk and is said to have a success rate of 0.03%.


Figure 1. Familiarity matrix

Outcome of innovation

The outcome of innovation is often driven by a specific need in time. An example of such dynamics in the product life cycle of a technology is shown in Figure 2. At a certain point in time, the product innovation is cristallized. Often, this means that there is a standard or dominant design in the market. Then, price competition starts to play a larger role, which makes it necessary for companies to optimalise their processes. When process innovation is at its peak, competition in the form of design has already started to play a role.

Innovation dynamics.PNG

Figure 2. Dynamics of innovation[2]


  2. Course: Strategic value of design. Lecture: Design effectiveness. Teacher: dr. Gerda Gemser.

Further reading / interesting links

Passion for innovation (published at

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