Discovering Innovation along The Innovation Continuum

The Society’s Definition of Innovation:

Innovation is thinking creatively and acting in a way that produces something new and/or different that is implemented along the “innovation continuum” for the greater good of our region, state, nation or world.

The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana announces the Innovation Continuum to demonstrate that innovation is continuous, everywhere, and can be found in three broad areas regardless of the sector or the type of innovation, or whether technology is part of the innovation.

These broad areas are: 1) “Sustaining” or incremental innovation; 2) “Transformational” or significant innovation; and 3) “Disruptive” or game-changing innovation.

Innovation Continuum

Remember, The Society recognizes three broad areas of innovation.  This is regardless of the type of innovation or whether it affects a new business or a non-for-profit model, the arts, education, or government. The Society regards all three broad areas equally important to the process of innovation. The innovation may involve technology, but it is not a requisite. Please note that you will be asked to identify, on the nomination form, where your nomination falls on the Innovation Continuum.

The three broad areas of innovation are:

  1. Sustaining Innovation that renews something– Incremental innovation…
    Incremental changes can preserve existing products, services, processes, culture or extend their life, including product or service improvements and efficiencies that lower costs or improve quality…”
  2. Transformational Innovation that creates something – Significant innovation…
    Significant innovation involves more significant change and may include elements that combine to provide a more important differentiation involving product, service, process, culture or community…
  3. Disruptive innovation that radically changes something– Game-changing innovation…
    Profound innovation at a higher level that affects organizations, companies and even entire industries…has a profound impact on product, service, process, culture or community…

Examples of innovation along the Innovation Continuum…

Before submitting your nomination, ask yourself: “Did the individual and/or team you are nominating ‘think creatively’ and act in a way that created something new and/or different…?” It can be a service, product, government program, even something involving art or changing a culture in a workplace, community or region.

Here are some examples of innovation in the three categories of 1) sustaining innovation; 2) transformational innovation and 3) disruptive innovation…

Sustaining Innovation – Incremental innovation

Making incremental changes to an existing product and/or service, process, culture or community…

Example: Turning a traditional chicken dinner fundraiser into a personalized out-of-the-box dining experience.

Renewing or extending an existing product line or service…

Example: New and different features for an automobile.

Another use for an existing product line or service…

Example:  Aspirin used to prevent heart attacks versus just headaches.

Instituting creative approaches to encouraging cultural changes…

Example: “Hands Around the Square” in Valparaiso to encourage community diversity.

Transformational Innovation – Significant innovation

Create new product or a new service that is new and different…

Example: Transforming the way that medical students view their donor – a body donated for medical research – from nameless specimens to celebrating the lives, accomplishments and families of the physicians’ “first patient.”

New technology or application of technology…

Example: The development of an application of a new generation of steel using the hydroformed steel body structure for the Ford F150 truck involving three companies working collaboratively in the United States and Canada.

Significant transformation of how people look at the status quo of a product, service, process, culture or community …

Example: The creation of the lift for vans and other vehicles to provide mobility for individuals in wheelchairs worldwide where none existed before.

Disruptive Innovation – Game-changing innovation

Invention of new product and creation of infrastructure to support it …

Example:  Edison’s light bulb and infrastructure development that resulted.

>Example: Octave Chanute’s development of the “Chanute Herring Glider” on the Indiana Dunes.