Business Blog & News

Discontinuous Innovation: 4 Types and One Legendary Innovator

discontinuous innovation

In the process of creating a new product or service, one needs to keep in mind that while there are some good types of innovation, there is one called discontinuous innovation. This means that they can be either enhancing or destroying the organization’s competence. There are also some environmental and organizational factors that influence this kind of innovation.

Product innovation must happen first

Product innovation is a process that involves developing new products, improving existing ones and/or introducing new services. It is an important and timely task for companies with a growing demand for their products and/or services.

The most obvious benefit of product innovation is the ability to expand into new markets. This can be accomplished through marketing. A savvy marketing program will enable firms to understand their potential customers. Developing new and improved products can also help reduce production costs. In turn, lower cost production can translate into higher profit margins.

Another important part of the process is acquiring and retaining good employees. The more engaged your workforce is, the more likely they are to contribute their best ideas and innovations. They will also increase the firm’s productivity and, thus, your bottom line.

One of the easiest ways to get employees onboard with this important task is to make them a part of the decision making process. This will not only boost employee engagement but, more importantly, reduce mistakes.

The key to success in the product innovation space is to identify the product or service that will drive your business forward. For example, a new jet powered sea ferry might be a worthy contender. Similarly, a new holiday package or holiday movie could provide a significant boost in revenue.

The product may be small and seemingly simple, but it must be the best of its kind. When choosing the perfect neophyte, make sure to keep in mind the needs and wants of your target market. You don’t want to end up delivering the same old product to a new customer or consumer group. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to create a list of potential customers and solicit their input in the process.


A competency-enhancing discontinuous innovation is a technological innovation that deepens a firm’s capabilities. This type of innovation may be initiated by a new entrant or an existing firm. It requires a new skill, knowledge, or technology.

Innovations that require new competences result in widespread organizational changes. These include new unit structures, new linking mechanisms, and changes in senior management teams. As a consequence, the firms will need to invest a great deal of time, money, and effort in developing the innovations.

The effects of innovation on organizational characteristics vary according to the nature of the innovations and the extent to which they build on or destroy organizational competencies. Research indicates that innovations that affect competence have the most pervasive effects on organizational characteristics.

Firms that have been in business for a long time typically have more resources and experience than those who have recently entered the industry. These firms are also more likely to have strong managerial and financial capabilities. They are able to commercialize innovative products and processes that can be adopted by other firms.

Competence enhancing discontinuous innovations involve order-of-magnitude improvements in price-performance. When incumbent firms adopt these innovations, they are expected to succeed more easily. But these firms are in a disadvantage when the new entrants come to market with similar innovations.

In addition to the technological breakthroughs that enhance the firm’s capabilities, other technological discontinuities can also destroy the firm’s competencies.  A breakthrough destroys an old technology, or it replaces an old product with a new one is an example of discontinuous innovation.

Technological innovation is a dynamic process that can cause creative destruction, or it can enable the growth of new organizations. The effect of an incremental or a radical technological change depends on the nature of the innovation and the capabilities of the organization.


Competence-destroying discontinuous innovations are innovative technologies that destroy a firm’s key competencies. These technological advances are brought to market by new entrants, who have an advantage over incumbent firms. The main advantage is that they have an opportunity to escape the attention of their competitors. They can also fly under the radar, enabling them to build their businesses at a much lower cost.

The innovation is competence enhancing when it builds on existing technology. In addition, it is a competency destroying innovation when it replaces technology. This is often due to the fact that incumbent firms have more resources and experience. However, they are at a disadvantage when other firms adopt the technology.

Unlike incremental and generational innovation, competence destroying technological advances can result in creative destruction. This is a form of innovation that causes an industry to evolve, as new products and processes replace the previous technology.

Innovation is defined as a change in knowledge or methods that is used to improve a product or process. It may also affect the overall configuration of the system. For example, innovation may lead to a reduction in environmental uncertainty.

When a company develops a new technology, they are said to be innovating. A new technology is one that has greater technical limits than the dominant technology in the industry. While this is good for the firm, it can lead to a loss of dominance.

Innovating is a difficult task. New technologies can require painful layoffs, and it can involve divestitures. But it can also lead to exciting new ventures.

Innovation is the process of creating new technologies, processes, and knowledge, while incorporating existing technologies into the organization. There are many different concepts that have been developed to assess technical change.

Environmental and organizational factors

Environmental and organizational factors play a role in creating and sustaining discontinuous innovations. Innovations that build on entirely new skills or knowledge are called discontinuous innovations. These innovations can have a large impact on the structure of the industry, especially when they are implemented by incumbent firms.

The best way to understand the impact of environmental variables on innovation is to study their interaction. This can be done in the context of a specific organization or business unit. It can also be beneficial to use contemporary indicators, if possible. A proposed model provides a standardized way to measure innovation.

Studies have found that environmental and organizational factors have a significant effect on innovation. Innovation is influenced by a variety of factors, including economic, social, and political influences. As with other elements of the organization, environmental variables are outside the organization’s control and can impact decision-making.

Some studies suggest that environmental variables affect the novelty of an innovation, the complexity of its implementation, and the speed with which it is deployed. They also point to the need to adopt an innovation strategy adapted to the environment.

Several studies on the environmental effects of innovation, however, have been limited by the lack of a single measure. Most empirical studies rely on secondary data. Although the environmental properties of innovation may be relevant, it is not well understood what they actually mean.

One way to explore the relationship between environmental variables and innovation is to compare innovation systems across a variety of settings. For example, an industry that has many competitors, or a sector that is relatively mature, may be better suited to a dynamic organization than a more volatile environment.


McDonald’s is a company that has been a major innovator in the fast food industry. This has ranged from efficient restaurant design to great marketing. It has also experimented with ways to cut costs and speed up service. In some cases, the changes have been disruptive.

One of the biggest innovations McDonald’s has introduced was its drive-thru service. This helped the company keep a steady revenue stream, even during a recession. However, many consumers wondered about the quality of the food.

In the early 1980s, drive-thrus accounted for almost half of the company’s sales. In order to cut costs and improve service, the company began experimenting with outsourced drive-thru ordering.

The company’s initial innovation project, known as the “Innovate” initiative, attempted to integrate all of its branches to provide management with real-time consumption data. However, the project faced a major setback.

The management failed to fully define the scope of the project, which ended up wasting a significant amount of money. They also failed to establish process efficiency.

Today, McDonald’s competes with rising labor and ingredient costs, as well as price hikes from other suppliers. Its customers are increasingly choosing fresher options from competitors. While McDonald’s may be able to offer slightly better deals, the company needs to reaffirm its high-quality messaging and value.

McDonald’s is a huge player in the industry and has a lot of power. Nonetheless, it needs to disrupt the fast food industry.

For instance, McDonald’s could connect its menus to local economic empowerment and other national issues. It also could create networks of support for its employees. But technology won’t fix the company’s problems.

In order to truly disrupt the industry, McDonald’s needs to implement more drastic changes. If it hopes to do so, it should task an incubator with finding solutions to its biggest challenges.

If you like what you read, check out our other business articles here.


Check out our monthly newsletter and subscribe to your topics!

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Ready to get started, Get our Newsletter and join the Community!

Business Articles & News

Other Business articles that may be of interest