Four Types of Innovation – part 3

“Marketplace Innovation is and should be a continuous process. In fact, it’s all around us. If you open your mind to it, you’ll recognize it in environmentally friendly packaging such as the plant-derived, compostable bags that Frito-Lay developed for its Sun Chips and in processes like Home Depot’s tracking software that looks up a purchase for customers who’ve lost their receipts. It’s evident in the exploding number of apps for Apple’s iPhone. And it’s evident in Ford’s innovative social-networking marketing program for the new Fiesta that launched in 2010.”–excerpt from the book Breaking Away by Jane Stevenson & Bilal Kaafarani

Whereas Category Innovation is building new industries our next type of innovation is building or expanding new markets.  Living in the realm of features, benefits and sales. Marketplace Innovation is all about devising new ways to reach and delight the customer in engaging new ways.  By coming up with unique modifications for products, services, and delivery methods, its aim is to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Examples: folding side view mirrors on cars, light bulb packaging, and PayPal.

Defining Characteristics of Marketplace Innovation

  • Driven by competitive market needs
  • Generally defined by new features or benefits
  • Creates new ways to delight the customer
  • Impacts multiple categories
  • Keeps category innovation fresh and current
  • Is opportunistic and anticipates or creates market changes

Business Attributes of Marketplace Innovation

  • Revenue is completely incremental
  • Is often the most profitable
  • Like dating – there’s no commitment by the customer or company
  • Doesn’t have to be core – can be an in-and-out proposition
  • Exciting for everyone – company and customer
  • Maximizes cross functional participation
  • Can impact business short term but has long term potential

In part one of this series we looked at Transformational Innovation. In part two of the series we looked at Category Innovation. In part four of this series, we will look at Operational Innovation and discuss how it differs from the other three types of innovation. Operational Innovation is more about the how of business than the what. Being efficient, up-to-date and innovative in your processes, operations and relationships is every bit as important as having a killer product or service. Every company and 100 percent of its workforce should be engaged in Operational Innovation at all times.

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Jane StevensonNamed by BusinessWeek as one of the “100 Most Influential Search Consultants in the world”, Jane Stevenson is Vice Chairman, Board & CEO Services at Korn/Ferry International (Atlanta/New York). An industry expert on recruiting leaders, Jane was responsible for bringing in many of the first Chief Innovation Officers and CEOs who focused on growth through innovation. Jane is the coauthor of  Breaking Away: How Great Leaders Create Innovation that Drives Sustainable Growth–and Why Others Fail. (McGraw-Hill 2011).

Bilal KaafaraniNamed by BusinessWeek as one of the worlds “Top 25 Masters of Innovation”, Bilal Kaafarani is Chief Innovation Officer and Group President for Yildiz Holding (owner of Godiva, Ulker and 90+ other global brands) and Vice Chairman of Northstar Innovation in Istanbul, Turkey. A global innovation executive at P&G, Kraft, FritoLay, PepsiCo International and The Coca-Cola Company, he has worked with top brands and developed many innovations under his leadership. Bilal is the coauthor of  Breaking Away (McGraw-Hill 2011).

Jane Stevenson and Bilal Kaafarani




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No Comments

  1. Bill Harte on March 26, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Interesting series of viewpoints on the types of innovation…

    PayPal is a great example of marketplace innovation, although not unique in its marketplace. Born from a merger of two competing companies; placed in competition (and winning the competition) on ebay with “Billpoint”; short term opportunity of payment for eBay items led to longer term innovations such as electronic money transfer in various currencies.

    For me, the biggest innovation behind PayPal is not the technical elements, but the business model innovations that led it from being a way to fulfill transactions on ebay through to now being a way to transfer value throughout the world if you have an email or a mobile phone.

    Would love to hear more on the other examples mentioned in the article…

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