Innovation Strategies

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Information about Innovation Strategies

Published on September 18, 2007

Author: Brokenbulbs



A formal innovation strategy can help firms achieve success in new product development. This presentation presents Merle C Crawford's (1980) four innovation strategies and mentions some of the myths associated with each. For more on innovation and innovation management in Asia and beyond, check out
Thanks a lot!

Innovation Strategies

Innovation Strategies “ They can and will follow him, first individuals and then whole crowds.” - Joseph Schumpeter (1934) on the entrepreneur

In terms of innovation strategy, firms tend to:

Explore or


Tensions Exploit Explore

Merle C Crawford (1980) described four innovation strategies:

1. Inventive first to market

first to market

2. Adaptive second but “best”

second but “best”

3. Economic low-cost producer

low-cost producer

4. Innovative Applications creative use of existing technology

creative use of existing technology

“ The reality of strategy lies in its enactment, not in those pronouncements that appear to assert it.” - Burgelman and Rosenbloom (1989)

“ Love is as love does.” - Forrest Gump

Each innovation strategy requires innovation. However, the innovation will occur in different areas.

Each innovation strategy can be risky in reality, even if the firm perceives it as being low risk.

There is no universally more “innovative” way: being a low-cost producer (Economic) usually requires lots of manufacturing innovation.

Being first (Inventive) doesn’t necessarily lead to success.

Being second (Adaptive) can work but can fail in industries with short product life cycles or network effects.

A PIC doesn’t guarantee success, but research suggests that it helps. Make sure you get your innovation strategy written down today!

Thanks for reading! For more on innovation and innovation management in Asia and beyond, check out: SOURCE: Crawford M.E. (1980) “Defining the Charter for Product Innovation,” Sloan Management Review , 22 , (1), 3-11 . Presentation by Gordon Graham

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