Day Five: “What Defines Innovation?”

It is interesting looking at the different types of innovations there are out there, how they became what they are and what level of thought needed to be applied. Each innovation involves some sort of design thinking, such as products like the Toyota Prius, the Intel Processor Chip sets and the Sony Walkman.

First off we have the more subtle and viable versions of innovation, which are named as evolutionary innovations, brought about by numerous smaller, incremental advances (stepping stones).


The Toyota Prius and the Intel Processor Chips are perfect examples of evolutionary innovation. Toyota continued to improve the technology behind the manufacturing of their cars, implementing new features year in year out. Just recently they have made a significant stride in regards to their new Prius being both energy and fuel efficient, used as a marketing tool to promote the car’s low impact to the environment, as well as it’s lower cost (when compared to regular vehicles).2


Similarly, the Intel Processors have developed at an extreme level in the past decade; the newer, incremental chip sets are release on a yearly basis. Intel has a range of chipsets suited to the different types of computers (Notebooks, Netbooks, Towers, Tablets, etc.)4

And secondly we have the revolutionary innovations, which necessitate a larger amount of user-learning, often disrupting the consumer’s routine, and may even require new behaviour patterns.


The level of risk is very high and this concept ties in directly with Guy Kawasaki’s jump curve theory (touched on in The Art of the Start earlier), that notion of breaking old Design Thinking patterns to avoid incremental innovation and try to reach a brand new market altogether, which is where exactly Sony’s Walkman fits in, as they invented the first tape-based, portable device which played music conveniently.6 This most definitely shuffled and transformed consumers lifestyle, changing the way they listened to music, which turned out to be music to their ears. Even though the experience was very different due to portability reasons, one must understand that the core technology was already invented and used as a base for this innovation.


  1. World’s Car Viewer, (2011), toyota-prius-hybrid-04 [ONLINE]. Available at:  [Accessed 03 July 12]
  2. Brown, T., 2009. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers
  3. ProductWiki, (2008), intel_core_i7_1 [ONLINE]. Available at:  [Accessed 03 July 12]
  4. Intel. 2012. About Intel Processor Numbers. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 03 July 12]
  5. Tumblr/ BroGamer, (2012), Sony-Tape [ONLINE]. Available at:  [Accessed 03 July 12]
  6. Bright Hub/ Kristina Dems. 2011. Sony Walkman History. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 03 July 12]