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Push and Pull Innovation

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

An idea becomes an innovation when it is commercialized and creates value. The key to innovation is a process of marrying invention and commercialization and is about matching a problem and solution. Any innovation, hence, involves deep knowledge of both a problem and a solution.

If an organization identifies a real customer problem/need first, and then search for a solution, this is PULL method. Under this method, commercial applications are known before technology is developed.

If an organization develops new technological capabilities first, and then search for problems they can solve with them, this is PUSH method. Under this method, commercial applications are known after technology is developed.

In this blog I have examined the two strategies and the impact of the strategy on the organizations innovation management system

Traditional corporations that set up large product development and R&D centers are prime examples of push innovations. A lot of start-ups are also push innovators; they discover the technology, based on their own expertise and then figure out ways of commercialization.

Organizations that are most successful with pull based innovation tend to be very customer centric and close to customers. The digital world is full of entrepreneurs who use technology to quickly come up with technology solutions for opportunities that they stumble upon. Quite often the innovator may turn out to be a customer himself, who is fed up with the inability of existing players to meet his needs.

Here is a summary of what I consider some of the important success factors for innovation

If you would like to discuss more about Push and Pull innovation or make your own efforts more effective write to me at

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Krishnan Naganathan

Krishnan is a consultant with more than 25 years of experience. His purpose is to help India and it's entrepreneurs be global leaders in innovation

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