2.6.1 Incremental innovation

Incremental innovation is a familiar and reassuring process. It has been defined as ‘a continual process of small improvements in efficiency and performance within the fixed parameters of one product, business model, institution or social practice’ (Wilson and Jones, 2002, p. 34). We see incremental innovation, for example, in the way industrial products ‘improve’ from one year to another. A car that you buy today will be significantly different from one purchased 20 years ago – it may have power steering, anti-lock brakes, airbags and air conditioning – but at the same time it is recognisably the same kind of entity as its 20-year-old predecessor. The concept has been refined and improved in steady, incremental stages.

2.6 Two kinds of innovation

2.6.2 Disruptive innovation