The Faces of Innovation

22 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2008 Last revised: 4 May 2013

See all articles by Roger Miller

Roger Miller

Polytechnic School of Montreal - Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering

Marcel Côté

Secor Consulting

Date Written: March 15, 2008


Innovation is a highly diversified phenomena. A survey of innovation strategies in over 1000 firms and research organizations allowed the authors to identify six very different innovation archetypes, each characterized by a basic strategy or innovation game. The games are defined by two dimensions, whether the innovation is incremental or market-creating and whether it is associated with a stand-alone product or with a product that is part of an open or of a closed system. Each of the six games (Eureka!, System breakthrough, Battle of architectures, New and improved, Pushing the envelope, and Mass customization) is characterized by a specific ecosystem. Preliminary findings also suggest that incremental innovations have an economic contribution significantly bigger than market-creating disruptive innovations. At any given time, an industry is dominated by a particular game, although it can change games from time to time. The ability to execute a game and the ability to recognize the salient game are critical competitive skills. From a public policy perspective, the breakdown of innovation into six different games, has significant implications, for the effectiveness of specific policies will differ greatly from one game to another.

Keywords: innovation, innovation games, innovation policies, innovation strategies

JEL Classification: O30, O31

Suggested Citation

Miller, Roger E. and Cote, Marcel, The Faces of Innovation (March 15, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Roger E. Miller

Polytechnic School of Montreal - Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering ( email )

Montreal H3C 3A7, Quebec

Marcel Cote (Contact Author)

Secor Consulting ( email )

555 Boul. René Lévesque
9th floor
Montréal, Québec H2Z 2B1

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