Adaptive Innovation: Launch, Learn, Repeat

January 23, 2013 — 3 Comments

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Successful startups have a clear and defined purpose—an offering, product, or business model like no other. They also know when to evolve, redesign, or adapt, in sync with emerging market needs. But how?

Arvind Gupta, a colleague in Shanghai, recently wrote about the importance of adaptive innovation cycles in emerging markets in Rotman Magazine. These are methods that I believe can be easily molded for businesses in both the US and European markets as well. Adaptive innovation involves stripping steps from the corporate R&D process and executing quickly in two modes: learning and creating. Some of us at IDEO refer to this as “the squiggle.”

This approach empowers designers to rapidly integrate information from in-market testing. Through repeated adaptive innovation cycles, a team can iterate an offering, product, or model in sync with evolving market needs and stay ahead of the competition. According to Arvind, there are four pillars of success to this approach: Purpose, Pace, Pulse, and Prototyping. Read more about the four pillars of adaptive innovation here.

Where could you be using adaptive innovation to improve an idea?

(Posted also on my LinkedIn Thought Leader blog)

Tim Brown


3 responses to Adaptive Innovation: Launch, Learn, Repeat

  1. I appreciate Mr. Gupta’s insight, but I wonder how he sees this sustainably implemented. My organization is desperatly trying to “develop products faster”, which is leading to corners cut, significant burn-out of employees from working too many hours, and in the end the product isn’t what anyone hoped it would be. What is it about the model that IDEO, or any of the companies the Gupta references (with the obvious exception of Apple that does burn out good people) that allows faster and faster innovation, while maintaining that focus on quality without consuming its employees in the process?

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