The Ultimate Innovation Glossary: 80+ Definitions

Understanding innovation terminology means greater than only a command of technical buzzwords. It is foundational in making sense of innovation methodology and core ideas. The ITONICS Innovation Glossary defines a number of the key phrases you’ll most definitely encounter as you embark in your innovation journey.

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70-20-10 Rule

The 70-20-10 Rule, developed by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, is a framework that guides organizations in allocating finite sources to numerous development initiatives. As the sensible software of Three Horizons of Growth, the 70-20-10 Rule goals to realize a balanced portfolio of tasks, 70% of which contribute to core enterprise, 20% to adjoining, and 10% to transformational.  

See additionally: Three Horizons of Growth




An accelerator is a structured program centered on scaling, optimizing, and dashing up the innovation course of for a brand new enterprise enterprise. Typically, this happens at a later stage of improvement, requiring a enterprise to show its development potential and a few preliminary traction. An accelerator goals to expedite the launch of a minimal viable product (MVP) to market shortly and with the minimal funding.

See additionally: Incubator, Minimum Viable Product

Adjacent Innovation

Adjacent innovation is creating new services or products associated to a corporation’s present choices however not essentially an extension of them. It sometimes includes exploring new markets or figuring out new buyer wants that may be met by means of the applying of the group’s present know-how, sources, or experience. Adjacent innovation might help corporations to diversify their portfolio, enter new markets, seize new sources of income, and keep aggressive by constantly introducing new services and products.


Agile is outlined as the flexibility to shortly and successfully reply to vary and adapt to new data. Agile in innovation includes being open to adopting, creating, testing, and iterating new concepts and approaches to establish essentially the most promising paths ahead. It emphasizes collaboration and the flexibility to pivot shortly in response to new data or market situations by means of frequent suggestions and testing—each with clients and internally to make sure that new concepts align with buyer wants. 

AI-Driven Innovation

AI-driven innovation incorporates synthetic intelligence (AI) within the innovation course of. It can assist all levels of end-to-end innovation, from scouting and sensemaking to automating repetitive duties and decision-making, releasing groups to deal with extra artistic work. Many industries are additionally making use of AI to enhance discovery and improvement, comparable to in Computer-Aided Drug Design, Low-Code, No-Code platforms, and generative or Creative AI.

Architectural Innovation

Architectural innovation is usually centered on creating new services or products, reorganizing inner buildings, or integrating new applied sciences into present techniques. For occasion, an organization that produces radio could produce smartphones by incorporating their present and including new know-how. 



Business Model

A enterprise mannequin is a manner that a corporation generates revenues and income by promoting services or products to clients. It outlines the varied elements of the enterprise, together with the goal market, worth proposition, advertising and gross sales technique, and income and revenue streams. Business fashions differ in keeping with the character of the services or products, dimension, and business.

See additionally: Business Model Canvas

Business Model Canvas

The enterprise mannequin canvas (BMC) is a visualization device used to design and take a look at new enterprise fashions that assist innovation and enterprise development. It includes figuring out the important thing constructing blocks of a enterprise mannequin and contemplating how they are often modified or enhanced. Through the BMC methodology, customers can develop new worth propositions, channels, income streams, and buyer relationships and segments to focus on.

See additionally: Business Model



Casual AI

Casual AI shifts the main focus of synthetic intelligence (AI) from predictive analytics to prescriptive analytics, making it helpful to collect resolution intelligence. It is particularly helpful to grasp the influence of predicted outcomes comparable to buyer retention packages, advertising marketing campaign allocation, and monetary portfolio optimization.


Co-creation refers back to the enterprise observe of involving third-party stakeholders (e.g., enterprise companions, suppliers, clients, start-ups, and so on.) within the innovation course of—from ideation and design to prototyping and testing.

Continuous Foresight

Continuous foresight includes analyzing projections and backcasting from fascinating future eventualities to organize for and reply to a continually altering world. It depends on a scientific foresight methodology to constantly assess macro-environmental drivers and weak alerts, collect intelligence, and derive actionable insights that may probably contribute to future success.

Corporate Innovation

Corporate innovation is the method of deliberately looking for and implementing new alternatives and embedding innovation goals into the company technique.

Corporate Incubator

Corporate incubators are packages run by a corporation to assist and information early-stage concepts to develop them into marketable enterprise fashions. Corporate incubators act as catalysts to stimulate innovation and efficiently create new enterprise pipelines.  

Closed Innovation

Closed innovation is when a corporation develops new merchandise or applied sciences internally with out collaborating with exterior events. The group controls all the end-to-end innovation course of, from thought technology to product improvement to commercialization. A closed innovation strategy permits a corporation to keep up mental property safety and aggressive benefit. However, it will possibly restrict the group’s innovation course of if there’s a lack of numerous views and sources which might be gained from open innovation.

See additionally: Open Innovation


Crowdsourcing is a sort of co-creation that entails the gathering of knowledge and concepts from exterior networks based mostly on a name or standards from the group.




Demand Driver

A requirement driver is a driving power in society or the market that factors in a sure route, representing and affecting people’ and/or clients’ needs, needs, and behaviors (e.g., traits).

See additionally: Driver, Trend

Democratization of Technology

The democratization of know-how is going on as accessibility improves round key applied sciences that promise elevated productiveness for companies and people. The boundaries to know-how adoption are decreasing as digital equality and digital literacy rise globally and prices of shopping for, leasing, or implementing know-how lower. Democratized rising applied sciences like Low-Code No-Code platforms and generative or Creative AI are empowering a brand new technology of innovators, entrepreneurs, and creators to take part and compete within the digital financial system. 


Digitalization refers back to the software of digital applied sciences and digitized information to rework core enterprise fashions comparable to buyer engagement, relationship administration, or income streams. Digitalization depends first on the digitization of processes from analog or offline techniques.


Digitization refers back to the conversion of knowledge from an analog format to digital. It ends in inner efficiencies and course of optimization.

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation is a sort of innovation leading to new ideas, merchandise, applied sciences, or enterprise fashions that drive transformation. It basically modifications an present business, creates new markets and worth networks, displaces typical practices, and ultimately results in new buyer expectations.

As a part of a balanced development portfolio, disruptive innovation makes up the third, outer horizon of the Three Horizons of Growth framework. It ought to account for about 10% of useful resource allocation, in keeping with the 70-20-10 Rule.

See additionally: 70-20-10 Rule, Three Horizons of Growth

Doblin’s Ten Types of Innovation

Doblin’s Ten Types of Innovation is a framework that encourages organizations to look past product innovation and discover alternatives for innovation by means of a number of completely different channels—together with product providing however extending to a corporation’s configuration and buyer expertise.


A driver is a macro-level exterior issue that influences the broader social, technological, environmental, financial, and/or political panorama. Therefore, organizations can use STEEP or PESTEL evaluation to grasp how the motive force could influence its surroundings by shaping know-how, client demand, competitor exercise, provide networks, and so on. 

See additionally: Demand Driver, Solution Driver, STEEP



Environmental Scanning

Environmental scanning is the aptitude to scan one’s enterprise surroundings comprehensively and constantly with a view to construct innovation intelligence and inform decision-making. It consists of scouting for and managing data associated to traits, applied sciences, start-ups, and potential companions. 

See additionally: Scouting, Technology Management, Start-up Relationship Management 




Foresight refers to a structured and systematic manner of figuring out potential futures to have the ability to put together accordingly. Foresight actions like environmental scanning and situation planning allow organizations to adapt to alternatives and challenges that the long run holds and align their innovation technique accordingly.

See additionally: Strategic Foresight, Environmental Scanning, Scenario Planning


Go-to-Market Strategy

A go-to-market technique is a structured and actionable plan that lays out how a corporation will ship its worth proposition to clients. It consists of consideration of sources and timeline, identification of the audience, and advertising and gross sales plans. 



In distinction to a development, a hype is a collective and sometimes spontaneous fad that disappears after a brief time frame. 



An thought is a novel suggestion, idea, or resolution that addresses an present problem or alternative.

Idea Management

Idea administration refers back to the structured strategy of producing, assessing, and enhancing concepts that contribute to a corporation’s innovation technique. This consists of the prioritization and implementation of concepts. 

Idea administration can happen by means of a centralized or decentralized course of. Centralized thought administration permits a whole group to interact within the course of, whereas decentralized thought administration permits completely different groups or enterprise items to handle their very own concepts.


Ideation is a scientific and artistic methodology for producing new concepts and ideas. Ideation generally happens in a collaborative workshop surroundings that includes a number of, cross-category stakeholders, after which concepts are refined by means of a phase-gate course of.

Incremental Innovation

Incremental innovation is a sort of innovation that entails the gradual but steady enchancment of present merchandise, applied sciences, or processes with a view to keep an present buyer base and maintain a sure stage of strategic positioning.

As a part of a balanced development portfolio, incremental innovation makes up the primary, internal horizon of the Three Horizons of Growth framework and may account for about 70% of useful resource allocation, in keeping with the 70-20-10 Rule.

See additionally: 70-20-10 Rule, Three Horizons of Growth


An incubator is a structured program that helps entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and start-ups with the sources to create and develop new enterprise ventures. Typically, this happens at an early stage of improvement and ends with a novel and viable concept that is able to pitch to traders or shoppers. An incubator goals to set the muse for brand new enterprise ventures.

See additionally: Accelerator


Innovation is the method of turning an thought right into a services or products which addresses a sure downside and creates worth for the group and the shopper. Innovation is a driving power behind development, competitors, and effectivity. It is intently linked with creating worth, balancing danger and reward, and constructing future resilience.

Innovator’s Dilemma

The time period ‘Innovator’s Dilemma’ was first coined by Clayton Christensen from the Harvard Business School. It refers back to the state of affairs through which established companies make incremental improvements to their profitable present merchandise to assist buyer calls for and miss out on disruptive improvements. As a consequence, when new entrants introduce disruptive improvements to compete with present merchandise in particular segments, they will probably seize a major market share with little competitors from incumbents.

Innovation Ecosystem

An innovation ecosystem includes collaborative efforts in numerous kinds, comparable to business or educational, shared analysis and improvement facilities, or authorities packages. They make the most of these partnerships to hurry up the innovation course of, decrease dangers, lower prices, correctly allocate and make the most of sources, and achieve entry to a bigger assortment of concepts.

Innovation Framework

An innovation framework is a set of tips or ideas that a corporation can use to information its innovation efforts. It consists of mission statements, values, objectives, methods, and processes associated to innovation. An innovation framework helps to establish promising alternatives, generate concepts, and commercialize new services or products. It creates a scientific and structured innovation strategy by offering a standard language and a set of instruments to information decision-making.

Innovation Management

Innovation administration is the method of organizing, monitoring, and executing every stage of end-to-end innovation inside a corporation, from foresight and ideation to portfolio administration and commercialization. It includes a structured innovation framework, governance mannequin, and inner tradition of creativity and experimentation to information and maintain innovation actions.

See additionally: Innovation

Innovation Intelligence

Innovative intelligence is the flexibility to gather, course of, act on, and be taught from data, insights, and summary ideas associated to innovation. It entails the applying of this acquired data along with inner expertise and capabilities with a view to improve innovation outcomes.

Innovation Lab

An innovation lab is a separate and devoted unit inside a corporation whose core focus is nurturing innovation, presumably from environmental scanning and ideation to proof of idea and market launch.

Innovation Portfolio Management

Innovation portfolio administration is a technique for organizations to align innovation property and capabilities with their strategic goals. It entails the choice and prioritization of tasks with a view to establish gaps or redundancies, allocate finite sources, and stability development initiatives inside the enterprise.

Innovation Strategy

An innovation technique includes detailed objectives, insurance policies, timelines, and behaviors wanted to realize a aggressive benefit by creating and bringing new and artistic concepts to market. It is linked to the general group’s enterprise technique and ends in a transparent imaginative and prescient and focus for future development and worth creation. 

Innovation Theater

Innovation theater is the act of enterprise any initiative to provide new concepts, merchandise, or processes. It doesn’t immediately create actual enterprise influence however slightly alerts that innovation is occurring by means of occasions like innovation summits, hackathons, or early public bulletins about progressive tasks.

See additionally: Innovation, Innovation Management


An inspiration is an proof of how organizations or people are responding to a development or know-how in the actual world. Inspirations function springboards for ideation, serving to innovators look past their class, join the data in new methods, and nurture contemporary considering.


An intrapreneur is an worker who applies an entrepreneurial mindset to the innovation course of and proactively generates and executes new concepts.


An invention is a novel thought that’s confirmed viable based mostly on a strategy of validation, sometimes from an experiment or pilot challenge previous to implementation.



Lean Startup

A lean startup is a technique for creating a brand new enterprise or product by means of an iterative design course of, incorporating experimentation, buyer suggestions, and validated studying. A lean startup goals to maneuver by means of the event cycles—construct, measure, be taught—with better agility and velocity to find early if a proposed thought or enterprise mannequin is viable and get well shortly from failure. In this methodology, new merchandise are sometimes examined within the type of a minimal viable product (MVP), and options are iteratively revised to fulfill market demand. 



Market Intelligence

Market intelligence refers back to the systematic strategy of scanning, decoding, and responding to data pertaining to a number of stakeholders, together with however not restricted to clients and rivals.

Market Pull

Market pull happens when innovation is pushed by buyer expectations, needs, and desires. Often represented as traits, market pull helps information organizations in understanding what individuals worth.

See additionally: Trend

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

A minimal viable product represents essentially the most fundamental model of an innovation that’s prepared to be used by early adopters or loyal clients. The intention is to gather crucial enter on buyer desirability and product performance to suggestions to the event workforce.


Open Innovation

Open innovation represents a collaborative strategy to innovation through which corporations embrace co-creation and the change of inner and exterior data. This consists of partnerships with third-party stakeholders (e.g., distributors, suppliers, clients, start-ups, and so on.) and is opposite to conventional approaches to innovation that emphasize secrecy and a silo mentality.


An alternative is a probably rewarding enterprise state of affairs through which an organization can create important advantages by addressing beforehand unmet buyer wants uniquely and/or introducing new, higher options to present buyer wants. 


Partner Relationship Management

Partner relationship administration (PRM) is an strategy to sustaining a corporation’s relationships with its strategic companions in addition to its data of the primary gamers in its surroundings. PRM goals to establish, recruit, and construct affluent partnerships with key entities that contribute to a corporation’s innovation technique.

Partner Scouting

Partner scouting refers back to the environmental scanning exercise through which data is collected and analyzed referring to the primary gamers in a corporation’s surroundings which can be of strategic curiosity as potential companions or acquisition targets. 

See additionally: Environmental Scanning, Scouting 

Phase-Gate Process

A phase-gate course of is an innovation administration mannequin that divides a posh course of or challenge into completely different levels with extra particular goals (e.g., refinement, prioritization, useful resource allocation). Within every stage, a gate serves as an evaluation or resolution level with pre-defined standards.


A prototype is a tangible mannequin or illustration of an concept that serves to check and validate its viability. 


Radical Innovation

Radical innovation refers back to the improvement of applied sciences, merchandise, or providers that fully change present choices and unlock a brand new market—in distinction to incremental innovation that steadily optimizes the prevailing choices. This sort of innovation generally is a mixture of recent, revolutionary applied sciences and enterprise fashions. A traditional instance of such innovation is the invention of the airplane, which reinvented touring and launched an entire new business and market.


A danger represents an occasion that may probably lead to a unfavorable influence on a corporation’s potential to conduct enterprise. It implies a stage of uncertainty concerning future anticipated outcomes and stability. Typical penalties embrace qualifiable, typically monetary loss, harm, or disruption. Risk triggers are normally inner or exterior vulnerabilities that would have been eradicated by preventive measures.

Risk Analysis

Risk evaluation refers back to the strategy of figuring out and assessing elements, both inner or exterior, that would probably threaten the success or progress of a challenge or initiative. This consists of figuring out the probability of a danger to happen and the magnitude of the potential influence. 


A roadmap is a visible illustration of the innovation milestones and deliverables required to handle a corporation’s transition from its present state to a future state over a particular time interval.


Roadmapping is a technique for long-term strategic planning, implementation, and visualization of improvements, merchandise, and applied sciences, damaged right down to the required sources, steps, and milestones and aligned with the company and innovation technique.



A situation is a postulated sequence or mixture of occasions projected to happen that would maintain relevance to the group’s future state.

Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is a structured course of through which organizations think about variable information trajectories (based mostly on key drivers influencing their surroundings) to reach at a restricted variety of believable future eventualities. Scenario planning equips decision-makers, innovation leads, and strategists to anticipate exposures appropriately, consider innovation alternatives, and act timeously.


As a key environmental scanning exercise, scouting refers back to the strategy of observing shifts and developments. It includes gathering pertinent information, contextualizing change to uncover discernible patterns as weak alerts, and figuring out traits, applied sciences, start-ups, and potential companions that maintain each influence and relevance.

See additionally: Partner Scouting, Startup Scouting, Technology Scouting, Trend Scouting

Solution Driver   

An answer driver is a brand new or present means, methodology, device, and/or functionality that may virtually remedy sure issues and is future related (e.g., applied sciences).

See additionally: Technology

Startup Relationship Management

Start-up relationship administration (SRM) is an strategy to sustaining a corporation’s relationships with and data of the start-up surroundings, important gamers, newcomers, and actions. SRM goals to establish, recruit, and construct affluent partnerships with key start-ups that contribute to a corporation’s innovation technique.

Startup Scouting

Start-up scouting refers back to the environmental scanning exercise through which data is collected and analyzed referring to start-ups and developments which have potential relevance and influence in your (enterprise) surroundings.

See additionally: Environmental Scanning, Scouting 


STEEP—social, technological, financial, environmental, and political (generally PESTEL, which incorporates authorized)—is a framework for segmenting the macro-level surroundings to facilitate scanning and evaluation. Performing a STEEP or PESTEL evaluation permits organizations to guage the place an noticed change or driver is going on and the way it may probably influence their enterprise surroundings.

See additionally: Driver

Strategic Foresight

Strategic foresight is the systematic strategy of gathering future-relevant data, by means of environmental scanning actions, with a view to extrapolate completely different believable eventualities that would maintain strategic relevance for a corporation. Organizations can anticipate and put together for future alternatives and challenges by means of this situation planning and align their innovation planning and objectives accordingly.

See additionally: Environmental Scanning, Foresight, Scenario Planning

Strategic Search Field

Strategic search fields are macro-level subjects of particular organizational curiosity, i.e., actions within the subject that basically affect an organization’s core. Therefore, developments in such fields require devoted consideration and the contribution of specialist data and observations from key stakeholders.



A know-how is a sort of resolution driver that represents a device designed by means of R&D and innovation in response to new client wants or needs. Technologies are a sign of market push, enabling new enterprise fashions, merchandise, and providers.

See additionally: Solution Driver

Technology Management      

Technology administration refers back to the built-in planning and management of applied sciences inside a corporation. This could entail R&D or funding, know-how roadmapping, and know-how portfolio administration.

Technology Push

Technology push happens when innovation is pushed by R&D and new applied sciences. Technology push guides innovators in creating new merchandise that make use of applied sciences to fulfill an present or rising want.

Technology Radar

A know-how radar is a visualization of a corporation’s know-how portfolio. It maps evaluated present and rising applied sciences, optimizing know-how administration actions and enhancing strategic decision-making. The radar might help customers collect and make sense of rising know-how intelligence, prioritize related and enabling applied sciences to pursue, and establish promising alternative areas to discover. 

Technology Scouting

Technology scouting is an environmental scanning exercise that refers back to the systematic scanning of knowledge associated to rising, evolving, and present applied sciences, R&D, and market push which have influence and relevance in a single’s enterprise surroundings. Technology scouting includes aggregating, assessing, and disseminating know-how data to boost innovation intelligence.

See additionally: Environmental Scanning, Scouting 

Three Horizons of Growth

The Three Horizons of Growth is a framework developed by McKinsey & Company that guides organizations in portfolio administration, structuring initiatives, and discovering a stability between short- and long-term tasks. Horizon 1 consists of incremental innovation aimed toward sustaining the core enterprise and buyer base. Horizon 2 appears to be like at rising alternatives for adjoining enterprise. Lastly, horizon 3 is the place transformation and disruptive innovation happen. The three horizons framework is said to the 70-20-10 Rule of innovation that recommends organizations allocate 70% of their sources to core enterprise, 20% to adjoining, and 10% to transformational.

See additionally: 70-20-10 Rule, Disruptive Innovation, Incremental Innovation


A development is a requirement driver that represents new client attitudes, expectations, behaviors, or different market shifts that drive new change. Trends are a sign of market pull, guiding innovators in understanding what shoppers want, need, and infrequently demand.

See additionally: Demand Driver, Market Pull

Trend Radar

A development radar is a visualization device that shows related and evolving traits which can be impacting the enterprise surroundings or prone to influence sooner or later.  A radar might help a corporation focus its consideration and make knowledgeable selections by monitoring macro-environmental drivers, nascent client wants, and market responses or occasions which can be shaping change within the surroundings. Trends on a radar are evaluated for standards which can be significant to a corporation’s innovation technique.

Trend Scouting / Trendspotting

Trend scouting or trendspotting is an environmental scanning exercise and refers back to the systematic scanning of knowledge associated to rising, evolving, and present client wants and market pull which have influence and relevance in a corporation’s surroundings. Trend scouting includes aggregating, assessing, and disseminating development data to boost innovation intelligence.

See additionally: Environmental Scanning, Scouting 


Value Proposition

A worth proposition refers back to the worth that a corporation or resolution claims to ship to its clients. An group typically communicates its worth proposition by means of a concise advertising assertion that summarizes what a buyer can anticipate when it comes to useful and emotional advantages. 


(Weak) Signal

A (weak) sign is a concrete, socially located indicator of change in traits, applied sciences, and techniques. It serves as context-specific data from the surroundings that’s at present of curiosity and should have an effect sooner or later.


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