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Don't Underestimate Incremental Innovation, Says ML Council

Posted by David Brousell on Aug 15, 2014

Graph_Blueprint.jpgThe idea of coming up with a breakthrough innovation that can create competitive advantage captivates many companies these days. The success that companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Google have had with market-defining, breakthrough products and services sets the bar and motivates others to go for the biggest prize possible.

That bar is both necessary and useful as an aspiration, and some do manage to grab the brass ring. But the message from members of the Manufacturing Leadership Council, who convened earlier this week to discuss the many dimensions of innovation, as part of a special plant tour at American Axle & Manufacturing’s Three Rivers production facility in Kalamazoo, MI, was that companies shouldn’t overlook what can be gained through incremental improvements in processes and products

In fact, breakthroughs often don’t happen immediately but are often achieved over time as an initial concept is refined and improved. As a result, breakthrough innovation and incremental innovation can be joined at the hip, so to speak; the former needs the latter process to truly become a game-changing product or service.

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