10 Types of Innovation: The Art of Discovering a Breakthrough Product



The Art of Discovering Breakthrough Products

As venture capitalist Peter Thiel once put it, “competition is for losers”.

It’s inevitable that every company must be out there battling for market share, but you don’t really want to be in a situation where the competition is so stiff that any potential upside is eroded away in the process—―a scenario known as perfect competition in economics.


To avoid perfect competition, companies must strive to build an economic moat that gives them a sustainable competitive advantage over time. While these protective moats can arise from a number of different sources, in today’s information economy they most often arise from the power of innovation.

But where does innovation come from, and is there a universal framework that can be applied to help consistently make big breakthroughs?


The 10 Types of Innovation

In today’s infographic, we showcase the culmination of years of in-depth research from Doblin, an innovation-focused firm now owned by Deloitte.


After examining over 2,000 business innovations throughout history, Doblin uncovered that most breakthroughs don’t necessarily stem from engineering inventions or rare discoveries.


Instead, they observed that innovations can be categorized within a range of 10 distinct dimensions—and anyone can use the resulting strategic framework to analyze the competition, to stress test for product weaknesses, or to find new opportunities for their products.


Here are the 10 types of innovation:



From Theory to Practice

What does innovation look like in practice?

Let’s see how well-known businesses have leveraged each of these 10 types of innovation in the past, while also diving into the tactics that modern businesses can use to consistently make new product breakthroughs:.


Innovation Types #1-4: “Configuration”

According to Doblin, the first four types of innovation center around the configuration of the company, and all the work that happens “behind the scenes”.