Sustaining innovation is a type of incremental improvement that helps an organization maintain its competitive advantage by improving the features and performance of existing products, processes, and services. This type of innovation does not create entirely new offerings, but instead seeks to enhance what already exists in order to provide a better user experience or increase efficiency. In some cases, sustaining innovations may even be used to develop disruptive technologies that can challenge market leaders by providing superior value at lower cost.
The main goal of sustaining innovation is to optimize an existing product or service without necessarily disrupting the industry. Companies typically use this approach when they want to extend their leadership position in a given market without taking too many risks. The focus is on maintaining customer loyalty through enhancements such as improved usability or reliability rather than attempting to make dramatic changes or introduce new technologies. For example, Apple regularly releases updated versions of its iPhones with improved camera quality, faster processors, better battery life and other features designed to keep customers engaged with the brand.
Sustaining innovations often involve minor changes that can have significant impacts over time. For example, Microsoft made several small improvements over successive releases of Windows operating system which had a cumulative effect on user experience across all versions; this allowed them to maintain their leading position in the personal computer software market for many years despite strong competition from rivals like Apple’s OSX platform.
Another example is Toyota's Kaizen process which has been used since the 1950s; it involves small-scale process improvements that help maintain high standards while reducing costs associated with production errors or defects over time. These types of improvements are particularly beneficial for industries where competition is intense as they can give companies an edge over their rivals without requiring large investments in research & development costs for completely new products/services each time.
In contrast to disruptive innovations which attempt to introduce completely new solutions into the marketplace – often by targeting previously underserved markets – sustaining innovations focus on improving existing products/services within established markets in order to maintain dominance among competitors. This makes them ideal for companies who want to extend their lead within an industry while minimizing risk exposure at the same time.
Related Keywords: Incremental Improvement, Disruptive Technology, Kaizen Process ,Product Enhancement