What is Incremental Innovation?

February 17, 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 “incremental innovation.”

“It’s making something that you already make, for people you already make it for, just a little bit better,” says Alex Slawsby, Chief Growth Officer at InnoLead. “It’s making the blue thing green.”

“When I think about incremental innovation, I think about things that are a little bit different: 10 percent improvement, or 10 percent expansion of a customer group,” says Fiona Murray, Associate Dean of Innovation and Inclusion, MIT Sloan School of Management. “What it also implies is reasonably low risk.”

“It is really important for organizations to signal that incremental innovation is incredibly important,” says Scott Anthony, Clinical Professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and Managing Director at Innosight. “Incremental innovation is not just about new products and services; it can be new ways of working inside an organization, improving productivity, improving employee experience, and so on. It’s really a tool that can be in everybody’s arsenal.”

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