Recent Posts

Rudolph & The Island of Misfits – Incremental, Adjacent & Transformational Innovations

Many think of innovation as a contemporary trend however when Robert Lewis May wrote Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in 1939, he was an Innovator.

Before any Innovation process begins, you need a strategy that breaks down activities while focusing on delivering incremental, adjacent and transformational successes.

In Robert Lewis May’s story, there are many examples of this process. Robert Lewis May created characters in his stories that often display complex characteristics of these strategy elements.

Here are some examples we’ve found:

Incremental innovation:

Incremental innovation involves a series of small improvements or upgrades resulting in improved product/service, increased productivity and competitive differentiation.

Rudolph himself is an Incremental Innovation.  He is a reindeer like every other reindeer except for his nose! A bright red nose that would shine through fog like a spotlight.  His nose resulted in improved product – instead of flying blind, they now had a light, which increased productivity – Santa would have been grounded that Christmas Eve without him. 

Adjacent Innovation:

Adjacent Innovation finds new ways to leverage a company’s expertise or existing product/service into new markets or creating new products for existing markets. 

The Island of Misfits contained many Adjacent Innovations.   Some that worked – a water pistol that squirts jelly, and some that didn’t – a train with square wheels on his caboose.  The successes offered expansion into new markets as well as creating new products for existing markets.  The fails proved to offer lessons.  

Transformational Innovation:

Transformational Innovation is disruptive in nature because it often creates a new industry or completely transforms the way we live and work, often requiring new capabilities and distribution to serve new markets and new customers.

Hermey the Elf was a Transformational Innovation.  An Elf who didn’t want to be an Elf but instead wanted to be a dentist.  His decision was disruptive in nature and completely transformed the way they lived at the North Pole…that is definitely transformational.

Besides creating a strategy that’s in line with your industry and level of innovation maturity, it is equally important to stay connected in the innovation space. Ezassi is often tasked with helping our clients find incremental, adjacent and transformational success. Our proprietary approach to search and attract targeted groups of individuals is defining the way companies accelerate innovation.

From in-depth technology scouting projects to innovation challenges, Ezassi has the resources to help our clients meet consumer needs  and drive long-term value for their organization.


Need Help Building Your Strategy?