What is Transformational Innovation?

February 15, 2023

In this short video, Alex Slawsby of InnoLead, Scott Anthony of Dartmouth College, and Fiona Murray of MIT lay out clear definitions of the term “transformational innovation.”

“Transformational… is saying that we are simultaneously playing with all of [the] levers: we’re thinking about a different job to be done, we might be thinking about a different geography, and we are critically thinking about changes to our business and operating model,” says Scott Anthony, Clinical Professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and Managing Director at Innosight. “This is going to be the hardest thing to do, so it better promise the greatest returns, or we ought not to do it, because it’s going to be a really hard thing to pull off.”

“We’re thinking about carrying multiple types of risk simultaneously, and that is really difficult for the organization to do,” says Fiona Murray, Associate Dean of Innovation and Inclusion at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “While the boundary between adjacent and transformational may be hard to really precisely define… [it’s important to recognize] that we are taking on a lot of risk… That requires management and leadership.”

“You need different people, different processes” when doing transformational work, says Alex Slawsby, Chief Growth Officer at InnoLead.

This is the fifth video in our series on “Defining Your Terms.”