How to Manage Both Incremental and Radical Innovation Projects in Parallel

This in-depth article provides you with fresh experiences and insights from how SCA, a consumer goods multinational company, has developed and worked with a new model for managing both incremental and radical innovation projects.

It discusses two models, the old Innovation Funnel and the new Innovation Reactor, a new model developed by Bengt Järrehult who argues that by applying the Innovation Reactor alongside with the Innovation Funnel, you create the possibility for a company to manage all types of projects covering incremental as well as radical innovation.

 

Radical and incremental innovation efforts demand different processes

If you are working in a large organization you are probably familiar with the funnel metaphor for describing the way you work with incremental projects. This is a good and valid way of working, but only for projects involving incremental innovation.

  • incremental product, process or service upgrades do not differentiate your company from the competition
  • there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ tool, e.g. a project funnel, capable of handling both incremental and radical projects
  • symbols and metaphors such as ‘funnels’ are strong influences over your approach to a project and new metaphors are needed
  • by applying the Innovation Reactor metaphor and model alongside the Innovation Funnel, you create the possibility for the company to manage all types of projects covering incremental as well as radical innovation.

 

 

This in-depth article will enable you to:

 

  • get a basic understanding of both the problems and solutions connected to creating radical innovation in your organization
  • achieve more constructive and higher quality management team discussions by providing a common ground and a common language for creating radical innovation in your organization
  • better reflect on the structure of your company and how to take action to create an organizational structure that supports the creation of radical innovation
  • prepare for the challenges of handling both radical and incremental innovation; avoiding repeating the mistakes of others
  • identify the vital steps that need to be considered when designing and implementing the innovation reactor in your organization.

By Bengt Järrehult

About the Author

Bengt Järrehult, PhD and recently appointed as Fellow Scientist Innovation at SCA, is Director of Innovation and Knowledge Management at the SCA headquarters in Sweden. He is also a member of the Leadership team at Research & Innovation Support at SCA’s Global Hygiene Category where they just have compiled and launched the Innovation Strategy for SCA’s hygiene business.

Apart from his daily work at SCA, Dr Järrehult also holds two positions in Academia. Since 2007 he is adjunct professor in Innovative Packaging Logistics at the Ingvar Kamprad Design Center of the Lund Technical University teaching in Innovation Engineering and Packaging. He is also newly appointed as visiting professor in Innovation at the Institution of Economic Research at the Lund University. He is also a regular lecturer at Chalmers in Gothenburg for students in the masters program of Management and Economics of Innovation.

  • Geovanny Romero

    One of the best article that I had read.
    It is excellent! The innovation reactor principle.
    This explain how combine funnel and reactor for manage incremental and radical innovation.
    Totally advisable.
    Congratulations Dr Järrehult.

    Geovanny Romero

  • http://twitter.com/alec_maki Alec Maki

    Very impressive article — it crystallizes many concepts that are often, shall we say, “fuzzy.”  Great leading practices/thoughts applied here.

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