Uncertainty Levels



Radical   >>>















Incremental versus Radical Innovation1




Business Case

Detailed plan can be developed at the beginning of the process

Business model and plan evolves through discovery-based market learning

Key Players

Formal cross-functional teams

Cross-functional individuals, informal networks


Formal, phase-gate model

Informal, flexible model at early stages due to high uncertainties  formal at later stages after uncertainties have been reduced



Incremental Innovation Projects

Incremental innovation projects, due to low levels of uncertainties, are usually follow the orderly process:

  • A potential marketable improvement to an existing product/service/process is quickly placed within a clearly defined, time-tested process designed to prove or disprove its value to the company

  • The process has organizational sponsorship, funding, and the assignment of a development team

  • Development and commercialization are directed along a formal phase-gate process

Radical Innovation Projects

Radical innovation projects, due to high levels of uncertainties, cannot be described by this orderly process. "Even though the radical innovation life cycle includes many of the same sets of activities and decision points, the reality of managing the process is strikingly different for radical versus incremental innovation."1

General characteristics of the radical innovation life cycle:

  • long-term, highly uncertain and unpredictable

  • sporadic starts and stops, dead ends and revivals  >>>

  • nonlinear detours, recycling back through activities in response to discontinuities and setbacks

  • stochastic waxing and waning of interest and funding, key players come and go, priorities change

  • context dependent corporate culture, history, personalities, informal relations, and experience all create a mix of accelerating and retarding factors.1  >>>

Synergize Incremental and Radical Innovations

Strike a synergistic balance in your innovation portfolio between the immediate and the future to achieve bottom-line results and top-line growth... More

Business e-Coach Kore 10 Innovative Thinking Tools

Kore 10 Tools help innovators approach creation of entrepreneurial strategies and anticipation of opponents' moves more systematically. The Kore 10 Tools help also  innovation leaders and radical project managers strengthen and synergize the most important areas of innovation... More

Case Studies Silicon Valley

To decide if their innovation portfolio has enough stretch, Silicon Valley firms assess the overall balance between revolutionary and evolutionary initiatives. Corporate leaders continually ask, how much does the portfolio push the industry frontiers, and where the company will be positioned a year or two from now if it executes its innovation portfolio properly... More

Case Studies General Electric (GE)

"Shun the incremental, and look for the quantum leap," urged Jack Welch, the former legendary CEO of GE, other leaders at the company. Live productivity and quality, but also make surprise moves ‒ shock your rivals. Shake things up while other look on from the sidelines, sitting idly by while you knock your competitors for a loop. The three critical ingredients of the quantum leap are surprise, boldness, and shock... More



Types of InnovationL PDR, Platform, Derivative, Incremental, Radical, Disruptive, Breakthrough

Synergize Radical and Incrfemental Innovation Market Leadership Strategies Innovation Portfolio Sustainable Growth Strategies Radical vs. Incremental Innovation Radical Innovation Blue Ocean Strategy Efficiency Improvement Sustainable Profits Venture Strategies Innovation Project Management: 2 Approaches



1. Radical Innovation, Harvard Business School