Three Types of Innovation

Judy Estrin, JLABS, LLC

JLABS’ CEO Judy Estrin breaks down innovation into three varieties. First, there’s incremental innovation, which is a significant improvement on an existing tool (such as the shift into Web 2.0). Estrin also spotlights breakthrough innovation, which are significant revolutions in tools and thinking (akin to the discovery of DNA). A third type, orthogonal innovation, is about repackaging an existing tool in a new fashion to create a new user experience – consider what the iPod and iTunes did for the MP3. All have merits for the entrepreneur and the engineer alike.