The Six Phases of Innovation in Fourth Generation R&D Management

It is a pair of nested iterative nonlinear innovation processes that enable business organizations (including its capabilities, business model and industry structures, supplemented with its suppliers as partners) to create a much higher level of value from radical innovation. The pair of iterative nonlinear nested processes replace the linear sequential ‘technology push’ model and stage gate process of innovation practiced in 1G, 2G and 3G that is only typically effective for incremental innovation within a market and an industry governed by an existing dominant design. The pair of 4G iterative processes enables acceleration of value creation, higher productivity and higher quality in both radical innovation and incremental innovation. These processes are shown in “The Six Phases of Innovation in Fourth Generation R&D Management” figure.

To effectively support radical innovation, the pair of 4G innovation processes is nested with an inner and outer loop. These combine iterations of scale in capability and architecture to provide the required learning and advance through the four phases in the front-end of innovation as shown in Six Phases of Innovation Figure. The 4G Phases of Innovation can also be applied to entrepreneurship in start-up businesses with the exception that most start-ups by themselves can’t create new 4G dominant designs. The Lean Start-up model described by Steve Blank is partially an application of 4G’s principles.