What is Sustaining Innovation?

Sustaining innovation is a type of innovation that seeks to improve existing products, services, and processes. It does not create new markets or value networks. Instead, it focuses on developing the existing ones with better quality and efficiency. This type of innovation typically occurs in response to customer demand or technology improvements.

Sustaining innovations hold tremendous value for businesses, enabling them to optimize existing products and services. These small changes often may appear minor at first—adding features, increasing speed or efficiency—yet the cumulative effect of multiple tiny modifications can have a major impact on end-users’ experience or overall product performance. Every incremental improvement to products and services is critical for unlocking new opportunities and staying ahead of the competition in the marketplace.

Sustaining innovation is integral to business operations, allowing companies to continuously improve products and services while minimising risk. These incremental advancements within an established market are often less risky than disruptive innovations that seek to create entirely new value networks. These updates can still improve efficiency and customer satisfaction by staying within the bounds of what customers already accept. Keeping up with trends and customer needs through sustaining innovation is an effective way for businesses to remain competitive.

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