There is no single path to innovation – there are as many ways to innovate as there are types of problems to solve. So how do you ensure you don’t get locked into a set map or strategy and lose your edge for discovery?
Satell proposes that we need to start treating innovation like other business disciplines — as a set of tools that are designed to accomplish specific objectives- and that we should build up a portfolio of innovation strategies designed for specific tasks.
When you have a really tough problem, it often helps to expand skill domains beyond specialists in a single field. Many believe it is just these kinds of unlikely combinations that are key to coming up with breakthroughs.
– Greg Satell
#Stout Takeaways for Using the Innovation Matrix To Find Your Innovation Path
Satell’s Innovation Matrix helps identify the right type of strategy to solve a problem, by asking two questions:
– How well can we define the problem?
– How well can we define the skill domain(s) needed to solve it?
 Sustaining innovation
▪ Use to get better at what we’re already doing.
▪ Conventional strategies/skills are usually effective.
 Breakthrough innovation
▪ Use for a well-defined problem that’s hard to solve.
▪ Explore unconventional skill domains and expose the problem to diverse skill domains with open innovation strategies.
 Disruptive innovation
▪ Use when technological shifts or marketplace changes leave you getting better and better at things people want less and less.
▪ Look for ways to change up your business model or value proposition, rather than your product.
 Basic research.
▪ Use for new, pathbreaking innovations that begin with the discovery of some new phenomenon.
▪ Invest in labs, fund academic projects or seminars or, for those with limited funds, access world-class research through the government or local universities.
Reaching out to scientists on the cutting edge can help a business plan for the future, just as the other approaches, such as design thinking, open innovation and business model reinvention can help move a business forward if applied in the right context.
Remember there is no single approach to innovation. But learning to apply a solution that best fits your current problem will help you find your way on the path to discovery.