McKinsey’s 3 horizons model is dead

From 3 Horizons to Dual Innovation

About 10 years ago the book The Alchemy of Growth introduced the 3 horizon model, which has since often been referred to as the McKinsey 3 horizons of innovation. Credit where credit’s due, because the 3 horizon model has done a great job in highlighting that not all “innovation” is the same.

A few days ago Steve Blank wrote a nice HBR article where he highlighted that the world has changed, and the 3 time horizons are actually no longer bound by time. Especially time horizon 3 type innovations can disrupt the status quo a lot faster than the originally projected 36 to 72 months.

Whilst I absolutely agree with Steve, I also believe the 3 horizon model has additional flaws beyond the irrelevance of the time aspect of its horizons. For fans of a 3-pronged approach I have previously already shared that I prefer Clayton Christensen’s efficiency, sustaining and market-creating to describe his 3 types of innovation.

The 3-type world

It is still true that not all innovation are the same, but perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the value of categorising innovation in 3 buckets. Different types of innovation are often referred to …

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