What is Architectural Innovation?

Consumers are extremely demanding in today's competitive market, leaving only truly innovative brands to satisfy their expectations. However, this does not require you always to create something entirely new. With architectural innovation, it is possible to disrupt the market without necessarily bringing high levels of new tech.

But what exactly is architectural innovation and how can it take your innovation strategy to new heights? Here’s all you need to know.

An introduction to architectural innovation

All organizations can use architectural innovation as a type of innovation. It is also known as adjacent innovation and is one of the four main types of innovation. It is characterized as delivering a significant improvement on an existing product. This is often achieved by altering the underlying fundamental structures or designs of the original product.

One of the key features of this innovation type is that the ideas themselves aren’t new. Instead, architectural innovation leverages existing technologies and concepts to create a superior product that not only impresses existing clients but also gains traction in new markets. 

This approach to innovation also aligns with the main drivers of innovation: customer experiences, revenue growth, and product development.

Architectural innovation changes structures, while incremental innovation for example, results in small updates to existing products. Architectural innovation is often less noticeable as many of the ideas relate to non-user-facing elements.

When executed well, this type of innovation can;

  • Improve the performance of existing products,
  • Introduce new functions or capabilities,
  • Reduce the costs for businesses and end users alike,

Architectural innovation prompts intrapreneurs to think differently about existing products and consider using them in new ways to achieve different outcomes. 


Why is architectural innovation important

Architectural innovation is beneficial for many reasons. For starters, this approach to innovation enables organizations to stay ahead, by building upon their existing products as well as existing technologies on the market.

Other reasons for implementing an architectural innovation strategy include;

  • No new technology means a faster route to market, saving resources and allowing you to see rewards quickly.
  • While underlying features change, the decisions are heavily data-driven, which supports customer-centric approaches.
  • It significantly enhances the business standing by modernizing products and services.

Perhaps more importantly, consumers often prefer an improved version of what is already available rather than something entirely new provided through radical innovation. Furthermore, the fact that technologies already exist means that they can be tested in a virtualized capacity.

Architectural innovation uses existing things but can also create new ones. The Apple iPhone is a good example. Here existing hardware and software were used in a new way, in order to make a better product. It also created new markets and attracted new customers.


Facilitate architectural innovation with KICKBOX

For architectural innovation to work, organizations must enable innovators to take stock of all existing technologies and processes. Crucially, they must also be allowed to work on their ideas without the fear of failure. Tools like rready's flagship KICKBOX program, encourage idea generation, allowing creative freedom to unlock concepts for significant product or process innovations.

Call the rready team to learn how KICKBOX can fit into your business model and architectural innovation strategy.

Get started today