Definition of Change in Degree

What is Change in Degree

While change is everywhere, not all change is the same. Much of the change we experience on a daily basis is that of slight variation. From one day to the next, our coffee is a bit stronger or hotter. This form of change is termed a “change in degree”. 

Most of our innovation practices are involved in this form of change. We term this “developmental innovation.” It is incremental, developmental, world expanding, involves continuity and existing possibilities. We see this in the innovations around improvements and variations of what exists: better chairs, cars, phones, etc.

developmental or change in degree

It is critical to recognize that change in degree and developmental innovation are not the only forms of change. In addition to change in degree and its incremental logic, there is also a change in kind. Change in kind refers to forms of change that are qualitatively disruptive. These require entirely distinct innovation practices.

Example of Change in Degree

An example of a change in degree is the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S, 13, 13 Plus, 14, 14 Max and on…

There are many existing formalized practices for working with change in degree (Design Thinking is one example).

When one pushes things quantitatively far enough they cross a threshold into becoming something qualitatively different. A hill becomes a mountain, a stool becomes a bed… In this manner change in degree is connected to change in kind.

See: Change, Change in Kind, Difference

on What Is Innovation, and How to Innovate

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