We’ve been taking a deeper look at disruptive and incremental innovation and this week we’re exploring how they into a few frameworks.

Innovation Cycle

The innovation cycle is built on three core stages: build, measure, and learn.


The innovation cycle is the path followed—what starts as an idea is built out and implemented, measurements are then taken (usually in the form of feedback from testers or data from analytics), and then the idea is improved upon using what’s learned from feedback—and the cycle repeats, allowing the idea to grow as its audience grows.

How are these steps actually applied, though? These following examples of innovation frameworks take varying amounts of time to make it through the cycle.

  • Agile Project Management


    Agile project management looks to undermine the traditional “waterfall” or assembly-line style of project development. Rather than plotting a project as a gradual assembly of parts, Agile generates an iterative, fast-paced look at a project, with an emphasis on feedback and reconsideration—it takes each “phase” of the waterfall (analysis, development, testing, etc) and rather than lining them up chronologically, blends them and delivers them into quick, iterative “sprints” of development. Working with these sprints highly encourages disruptive innovation at early stages, but it introduces incremental changes over time.

  • The Lean Startup

    The “Lean Startup” model of development is a more incremental take on Agile. Puts a little bit of responsibility on the user, to provide feedback on the project. Seeks to bring an iterative version of a project to life as quickly as possible. Once they have feedback, they immediately decide whether to build out the existing project, to tweak it, or to disruptively and strategically pivot. The project is continually released in iterations, allowing for these changes.

  • “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain

    Just-in-Time is a method that originated in manufacturing: manufacturers would view holding inventory as wasteful, and be encouraged to move through inventory that doesn’t compensate for the cost of the manufacturing process, and constantly improve that process to require less inventory. Applying this to project-development, Just-in-Time not only hastens each phase of development—it simplifies the process to a point where bottlenecks and other problem stages are quickly exposed and improved upon.

The important thing to keep in mind is no organization is created equal—what works for some may not work with you, which is why multiple frameworks exist! If you’re noticing difficulties in the way your team is taking on projects, it could be worth considering a fresh approach. Does your organization use a framework, which one? We’d love to hear about it!