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The Knowledge Innovation Matrix (KIM): A Clarifying Lens for Innovation

The Knowledge Innovation Matrix (KIM)

Prof. Shirley Gregor

Innovation is often understood in terms such as radical versus incremental, or exploratory versus exploitative, yet these terms are used loosely with little precision as to the type or amount of ‘newness’ found in the innovation. We suggest that innovations be judged on the basis of original knowledge contribution and needs addressed. Based on this fundamental definition, we propose a formal typology for categorizing innovations and the levels of both new knowledge contribution and real-world impact. The Knowledge Innovation Matrix (KIM) results from a classification of innovations and knowledge contributions on the two dimensions of application knowledge maturity and domain maturity. KIM provides a clarifying lens through which stakeholders can strategically manage innovation in multiple contexts. The matrix has four distinct quadrants termed (1) Invention, (2) Improvement, (3) Exaptation, and (4) Exploitation. We position this research in relation to existing innovation perspectives and briefly analyze the value propositions for innovations found in each of the quadrants in relation to the goals of the various innovation stakeholders in academia, industry, and government. Our aim is to produce a practical guide for developing a common understanding and a common language among academic researchers aiming at advancing knowledge, industrial managers aiming at new product and services, and government officials aiming at increasing the public welfare.

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Updated:   8 March 2019 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team