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4 Inspiring Incremental Innovation Examples That Drive Progress in Various Industries

4 Inspiring Incremental Innovation Examples That Drive Progress in Various Industries


Leah Nguyen 19 Dec 2023 6 min read

Innovation is the secret sauce for companies to be one step ahead, but have you ever wondered how?

The key to success isn’t just about going full-blown with everything you have but about making small and subtle adjustments that make the difference.

This is the concept of incremental innovation.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept together plus give you real incremental innovation examples to gain a better understanding of what drives companies to success💡

Is Amazon an incremental innovation?Amazon combines radical and incremental innovation.
What company examples of incremental innovation?Gillette, Cadbury, and Sainsbury’s.
Overview of incremental innovation examples.

Table of Contents

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What is Incremental Innovation?

What is incremental innovation?
Incremental innovation examples

Incremental innovation is about making small tweaks that improve an existing product, services, processes, and even business model.

It builds on an existing product or process with minor upgrades, not a brand-new creation.

Think of it like adding sprinkles✨ to a cupcake🧁️ instead of making an entirely new baked good from scratch. You’re improving the original without totally transforming it out of recognition.

If done right, it’s a steady cadence of refinement that improves the customer experience.

How to Know if Incremental Innovation is Right for You

Incremental innovation
Incremental innovation examples. Image: Freepik

Before jumping straight into implementing it, here are some things to consider:

  • Are your products/services already well-established with loyal customers? Incremental improvements help retain them.
  • Is radical change likely to confuse or overwhelm clients? Iterative tweaks ease people into new elements.
  • Do small tests and pilots better suit your resources than gambles on disruptive ideas? Incremental keeps costs low.
  • Do customer desires evolve gradually, creating a need for refined offerings? This approach adapts smoothly.
  • Is continual, lasting growth through additions a better fit than boom or bust transformations? Incremental provides steadier results.
  • Does data on previous performance guide precise enhancement areas? You’ll get the most out of tweaks this way.
  • Can partners/suppliers adjust flexibly to trials without huge disruption? Collaboration works well.
  • Is risk-taking welcome but major risks cause worry? Incremental satisfies innovators safely.

Remember to trust your instincts to see what fits! If these things are not what your organisation’s seeking, then move on, and keep looking for the right types of innovation that fit.

Incremental Innovation Examples

#1. Incremental innovation examples in education

Incremental innovation examples in education
Incremental innovation examples

With incremental innovation, educators can:

  • Improve course materials and textbooks over time based on student and teacher feedback. Make small updates each year instead of entirely new editions.
  • Gradually modernise teaching methods by incorporating more technology-based tools and resources into the curriculum. For example, start with using videos/podcasts before fully flipping a classroom.
  • Slowly roll out new learning programs in a modular fashion. Pilot elective courses before full commitment to gauge interest and effectiveness.
  • Enhance campus facilities piece by piece with minor revamps based on climate surveys. For example, landscape updates or new recreation options.
  • Provide ongoing teacher training through gradual exposure to modern methodologies like project/problem-based learning.

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#2. Incremental innovation examples in healthcare

Incremental innovation examples in healthcare
Incremental innovation examples

When incremental innovation is applied in healthcare, healthcare workers can:

  • Improve existing medical devices through iterative design changes based on physician feedback. For example, tweaking surgical tool handles for better ergonomics.
  • Gradually enhance electronic health record systems by adding new features/optimisations in each software release. Improves usability over time.
  • Develop successor products to current medications via continuous research & adjustments. For example, modify drug formulations/delivery for fewer side effects.
  • Expand the scope of care management programs through phased rollouts. Pilot new elements like remote patient monitoring before full integration.
  • Update clinical guidelines incrementally based on the latest research studies/trials. Ensures best practices evolve alongside scientific progress.

#3. Incremental innovation examples in business

Incremental innovation examples in business
Incremental innovation examples

In a business setting, incremental innovation can help an organisation to thrive, such as:

  • Enhance existing products/services with minor new features based on customer/market research. For example, add more size/colour options to top-selling items.
  • Streamline operations processes bit by bit using continuous improvement techniques. Replace outdated tools/technology in stages.
  • Modify marketing strategies through successive experiments. Gradually optimise messaging, and channels used based on analytic insights.
  • Grow service offerings organically by analysing adjacent needs. Roll out phased expansions of complementary solutions for existing clients.
  • Refresh brand presence incrementally with iterative changes. Update website/collateral designs, citizen experience maps, and such each year.

#4. Incremental innovation examples in AhaSlides

Incremental innovation example in AhaSlides - implementing new quiz feature
Incremental innovation examples

Last but not least, let’s talk about AhaSlides👉The Singapore-based start-up that is on the roll.

As a SaaS company, AhaSlides exemplifies how incremental and user-driven innovation strategies can successfully enhance existing solutions versus one-time makeovers.

  • The software builds upon existing presentation tools by adding interactive and engagement features. It enhances the core presentation format rather than completely reinventing it.
  • New capabilities and templates are frequently rolled out based on customer feedback, allowing for step-by-step improvements. This includes recent additions like polls, Q&A, new quiz features, and UX enhancement.
  • The app can be adopted gradually into classrooms and meetings through standalone pilot sessions before full rollout. This allows organisations to test benefits with minimal upfront investment or disruption.
  • Adoption is supported through online guides, webinars, and tutorials that phase users into advanced techniques. This nurtures comfort and acceptance of iterative upgrades over time.
  • Pricing and feature tiers accommodate flexibility depending on users’ needs and budgets. Incremental value can be extracted through tailored plans.
Besides incremental innovation, do you know about other types of innovation?

Key Takeaways

Incremental innovation is all about making small changes but yielding significant impacts.

We hope with these examples across different industries. We can keep your subtle innovation spirit flowing.

No need for massive gambles – just be willing to learn through baby steps. As long as you keep enhancing bit by bit, over time small changes will lead to exponential success🏃‍♀️🚀

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Coca Cola an example of incremental innovation?

Yes, Coca-Cola is a great example of a company that has used incremental innovation very successfully over its long history. Coca-Cola’s original formula is well over 100 years old, so the company has not needed to revolutionise its core product. This allowed them to focus on gradual improvements.

Is iPhone an example of incremental innovation?

Yes, the iPhone can be an example of incremental innovation. Apple released new iPhone models on a yearly cycle, allowing them to iteratively improve the product based on user feedback. Each new version included upgrades like improved specs (processor, camera, memory), additional features (larger screens, Face ID), and new capabilities (5G, water resistance) without reinventing the core smartphone concept.

What are some examples of incremental change?

Examples of incremental change are tweaking marketing messages, channels, or offers bit by bit using A/B testing or improving an existing product or service by adding a new feature, removing a step, or making it easier to use.