What is Adjacent Innovation?

February 16, 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 “adjacent innovation.”

“You basically break things down to what, where, and how,” says Scott Anthony, Clinical Professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and Managing Director at Innosight. “What: what is the fundamental problem you’re solving, the job you’re getting done, for a particular customer? Where: in what geographies or segments are you competing? How: what is the essence of your business model? How are you creating, capturing, and delivering value? To us, an adjacent innovation holds the how constant — you’re not materially changing your business model — but you’re changing either the what or where. Not both simulatenously. You’re changing one of them… That to us is adjacent innovation.”

“It really is taking what an organization does today, and positioning it for a new customer segment, or building something new for an existing customer sgement,” says Alex Slawsby, Chief Growth Officer at InnoLead. “You’re largely keeping the capabilities and the business model stable… it’s a bit of a stretch, but not too much of a stretch.”

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