Big wins vs small wins innovation

One of the most common questions i receive when I am running workshops with leaders on small wins innovation is this.

What are the key differences between big wins innovation and small wins?

Here is a quick summary:

Big Wins innovation is concerned with large scale innovation e.g. a new business model or new product.

Small wins innovation is more focussed on solving everyday problems.

Big Wins innovation is mostly concerned with developing new products for example.

Small wins innovation can be both internal (e.g. improving meetings) and external (e.g. testing a new packaging label)

Big Wins innovation is relatively infrequent e.g In pharmaceuticals the new product gestation period might be years.

Small wins innovation by comparison can occur every day.

Level of disruption
Big Wins innovation aims to disrupt or challenge a market.

Small wins innovation aims to disrupt or challenge the status-quo.

Ownership or Responsibility:
With Big Wins innovation there is normally an innovation department, director and a dedicated budget. By implication only a few people or departments are involved.

Small wins innovation by comparison is the responsibility of everyone and every team. It means that everyone can play.

Large scale innovation usually has a form of a stage gate process.

Small wins innovation follows a 5 step process (e.g. create, test, measure, share and learn) that everyone can learn and use quickly.

Some Big wins innovation metrics might include sales, market-share, or ROI.

Small wins innovation might include measurements such as employee engagement or customer satisfaction.

Size of Groups or teams involved:
Big Wins innovation usually involves large scale teams working across a number of departments such as R&D, Innovation, Marketing, Advertising, Consumer Insights Research or New Product Development.

Small wins innovation is more focussed on addressing everyday problems or challenging the status-quo.

Big Wins innovation typically uses tools such as brainstorming.

Small wins innovation uses tools such as The Power of 3 or Ideas Blitz.

Cultural Impact:
Big Wins innovation can have a major impact depending on the success of the latest new product launch for example.

Small wins innovation can have a large impact on building a more innovative culture over time as everyone can play and there is a greater emphasis on sharing, learning and celebrating small win success.

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