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Innovation vs Improvement

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Innovation and improvement are common terms for strategies that add value to a business by changing things to make them better. The difference between the two terms is a question of scale.
Improvements can be very small changes that add value. Innovations are changes that are at least an order of magnitude better than the existing state of the art.
In most cases, the goal of improvement is to make small changes rapidly that add significant value over time. The goal of innovation is to take massive leaps forward.
It can't be said that improvement and innovation are mutually exclusive as innovation processes typically involve cycles of rapid improvement and testing. It should also be noted that innovation can result from a seemingly minor improvement in an existing product, service or process that boosts its value by an order of magnitude.
Overview: Innovation vs Improvement
Innovation Definition
A change that improves the state of the art by at least an order of magnitude.
Improvement Definition
A change that adds value.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about innovation.
Business Models
Concept Testing
Cost Innovation
Crash Of Ineptitude
Design Thinking
Discontinuous Change
First Principles
Innovation Risk
Inventive Step
Latent Demand
Market Fit
Naive Innovation
Prior Art
Proof Of Concept
Speculative Design
Systems Thinking
Technology Winter
Throwaway Prototype
Trough Of Sorrow
Value Creation
More ...
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