Chapter 19

Innovation Tactics

A Toolkit That Turns the Ten Types into Building Blocks for Innovation

We discovered the Ten Types of Innovation by empirically analyzing great innovations to determine the properties they shared. Recently, we took on another piece of analysis to deepen this discovery. Our basic analytical question: “which reliable, generic techniques exist for each of the Ten Types?”

We call these Innovation Tactics. There are over 100 discrete ones1 that we have analyzed and codified. Just as the Ten Types are not new, neither are these tactics. Many have existed for decades or even centuries, such as publications using subscriptions as their Profit Model. For each we have defined a sense of their uses and limitations. This gives them a pragmatism that stems from simple recombination, like atoms that make molecules, Lego building bricks that make whatever you want, or reusable objects that make robust digital programs. Take these discrete building blocks of innovation, then recombine them to create bold breakthroughs.

This is valuable precisely because it is not mere copying. When you combine multiple tactics in fresh ways, you produce new constructs—without taking on vast amounts of risk that the new idea can’t be built. Most successful innovations are not brand new inventions, but rather they integrate many disparate and distributed known ideas into something that feels new and noteworthy. Netflix, for example, used a subscription model to upend the video rental ...

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