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Radical Innovation and Implementing it in the Workplace

It’s not hard to find companies that try to be innovative. But most companies that claim to be innovative aren’t radically innovative. Instead, most companies practice what we’d call incremental or sustaining innovation—small improvements made to existing products, services, or processes.

Actually, innovation is like any other function in your business—the results are only as good as the inputs and the process. If you're waiting around for innovation to just happen without an innovation management process to guide it…well, your results will reflect that. 

And that’s Ok—for most companies. Incremental or slightly disruptive innovation can lead to a lot of good things. But if you don’t want to be like most companies—if you’re interested in breaking completely new ground and turning your company into an innovation leader—then radical innovation is what you’re after.

But what is radical innovation, exactly? Maybe you already know, or maybe you don’t. Either way, sit back and hang out with us. We’re fun.


What Is Radical Innovation?

Radical innovation is about transforming an industry by introducing an entirely new business model. It may involve an invention or technology that creates brand new industries, like how the iPhone paved the way for social media, online banking, ridesharing apps, and countless others. Sometimes radical innovation drives entire industries to extinction like streaming services did to movie rental stores.

Blockchain technology is one example of a recent radical innovation with the potential to outdate established business processes. Its radical approach to how we use money is leading to new kinds of payment systems, business models, and financial practices. As blockchain technology becomes more widely accepted, new systems that replace current financial processes will follow until the old models have been replaced.

Radical innovation doesn’t just disrupt industries—it creates whole new ones. Businesses that radically innovate drive changes that transform the way we live our lives. If you want your organization to make a real difference in the world, radical innovation is the way to do it.


How Do You Practice Radical Innovation?

Any size organization can practice radical innovation, but small and large companies will have different strengths and challenges. Small companies have the agility to pursue radical ideas, but they might not be able to scale the idea. On the other hand, large companies have an easier time scaling ideas, but it can be a lot harder to get a risky proposal approved by management. Therefore, it’s essential to identify the specific obstacles your organization faces.


To be a true radical innovator takes: 

  1. A vision focused on the future
  2. An open mind
  3. A willingness to take risks

Radical innovation is all about taking risks and acknowledging that you might fail. That doesn’t mean cranking the risk dial up to 11 and going all-in on every idea (Yeah, ok Elon, we aren't talking to you). Even radical innovation has to be strategic. Many companies make one of two mistakes: either they stagnate in the status quo, or they’re constantly invading new markets. However, the sweet spot for radical innovation exists between these two extremes.

If you’re committed to practicing radical innovation, you need to think in terms of bottom-up innovation—that means taking advantage of your organization’s talent and core competencies. Bottom-up innovation allows you to crowdsource the undirected creativity spread throughout your organization into innovative ideas that will help the business. Think of your employees as a bottomless well of radical idea generation. To harness the power of those ideas, employees must have a way to share them and feel comfortable sharing them.

The best way to do this is with an easy-to-use, intuitive, and empowering idea management system. An idea management tool provides an official submission channel, so employees know their ideas are welcome and gives them the chance to execute and be the CEOs of their ideas. The process should be user-friendly with as low a threshold for submission as possible.

To encourage continuous idea submissions, providing feedback for all ideas is crucial. Employees should know their ideas are being genuinely heard. Even rejected ideas should receive feedback—this lets employees know they don’t have to fear submitting “bad” ideas. And of course, you also want to provide feedback to employees with good ideas, so they keep coming back with more.


Tap into the Power of Radical Innovation With ready

Radical innovation doesn’t just happen on its own. Businesses that have successfully revolutionized their industries did it by employing winning innovation strategies to make it happen.

rready provides leaders with all the tools they need to cultivate disruptive and radical innovation in their organizations. Our proven KICKBOX methodology generates bottom-up innovation by tapping into the potential of your entire organization. From there, we help you identify the next big idea and take it all the way to execution.


We hope we have answered what is radical innovation for you. Now that we have, we are rready to take you beyond disruptive vs. radical innovation ideas and prime your organization to produce consistent, powerful innovation from the bottom up. Contact us today to get your journey started.

Get started today