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What is the difference between disruptive innovation and radical innovation?

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What is the difference between disruptive innovation and radical innovation?
posted Aug 16, 2017 by Ananya Saha

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Difference between disruptive innovation and radical innovation

  • The classification of an innovation as disruptive (as contrasted to “sustaining”) is based on performance and market-related parameters. Radical innovation is instead compared to incremental innovation, and is based on the magnitude of improvement in performance and a change in technology.

  • Radical innovation almost always seems to mean an order of magnitude improvement in performance or a significant shift from existing performance or solving a complex problem that existing products don’t solve. This means more sophisticated technology, based on pushing the boundaries of knowledge.

  • The first bio pharmaceutical drugs were radical innovations because they used a completely different technology (biological methods of production rather than chemical synthesis) and addressed medical problems that could not be solved satisfactorily by existing drugs. New cancer therapies like the gamma knife are again radical innovations because they allow targeted radiotherapy, minimizing radiation damage to healthy cells.

  • Disruptive innovations don’t need to be based on radical technological innovations of this nature. Micro finance, for example, did not involve radically new technology. But some disruptive innovations can be radical as well – Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) do use some radical new technologies.

  • Radical innovations would rarely be classified as disruptive because, as we have seen, they are often aimed at driving the performance frontier rather than serving under-served or unserved markets.

answer Aug 18, 2017 by Abhishek Maheshwari
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