Understanding Innovation

Whatever approach they take to innovation (“naked” or otherwise), most people think of the outcome of innovation as a new product or other offering. The Ten Types of Innovation, an inspired model created by Larry Keeley and the consulting firm Doblin, broadens that definition to include other kinds of innovation–moving both upstream through the business that produces the new product, and downstream towards the consumer who acquires and experiences it. We still think this broad perspective should be part of every innovator’s toolkit.

When we wrote Naked Innovation in 2007, the Ten Types were still not widely known–even though it had been well researched, described in multiple articles and conference presentations, and available on Doblin’s website. The chapter we wrote tried to do justice to the model–giving full credit to Doblin–and to make it more easily accessible to a general audience. Earlier this year, Doblin (now part of Deloitte) published a book on the Ten Types, which is the authoritative description of the model, and how best to apply it. If this interests you at all, you should buy the book now and read it.

What seems to be working

  • We like the way we’ve mapped the Ten Types to the Balanced Breakthroughs model¬ and it continues to hold up–that seems to be an addition to the discussion.
  • We believed we’ve covered the most important points about the model in a few pages, but with sufficient vividness that it comes to life.

Areas that need more work or input

  • The examples we chose were deliberately not the ones Doblin has used in the past to describe the Ten Types–primarily because we wanted to be sure not to copy their work (while, yes, articulating their framework). If we continue to tell a story about the Ten Types, we think we’ll need to use fresh examples. Do you have ideas for new examples?
  • We’d like to add in other points of view about various types of innovation. What models have you run across that move beyond product innovation?
After you’ve read the chapter, please post your thoughts, constructive critique, and suggestions below. Thank you!
  • Bruno

    Great Chapter! Love the examples.
    One minor add/suggestion: I would stress a bit more the fact that Google got where they are today by optimizing any inefficiencies they could find. Probably looking at all the ten innovation with out even knowing.