Adaptive & Technical Challenges

We’ve defined Adaptive and Technical Challenges as:

Technical Challenges

These are challenges for which we presently have the resources, skills, and expertise to engage directly. These will be addressed through the development of strategies that the various agencies and ministries are able to carry out.

Adaptive Challenges

These are challenges which we know we must address but for which we presently we do not have the answers for doing so. These will be addressed through designing experiments that help us to behave our way into new thinking.

The 80/20 Principle

Discussed the 80/20 principle regarding Adaptive & Technical challenges to emphasize the importance of the need to address both not just adaptive challenges. We not only need to address the adaptive challenges, but majority of the time requires us to address the technical challenges.

4 Types of Innovation

We’ve defined the 4 types of innovation as:

  • Process Innovation
  • Product/Service Innovation
  • Customer Experience Innovation
  • Business Model Innovation

What does this all have to with each other?

You maybe be asking “What does innovation have to do with Adaptive/Technical Challenges?

Hopefully, I’ve made the case for the need for innovation across all levels of your organization and the need to do all four types of innovation to be able to address both adaptive and technical challenges.

Here’s an illustration of how they related to each other.


First, I like to view Adaptive and Technical challenges are a spectrum instead of distinct silos. It’s never clear what’s one innovation starts and overlaps with the next level of innovation. Hence the spectrum illustrating the different types of innovation.

Second, the illstration shows that adaptive challenge should only take 20% of our resources as opposed to technical challenges which should take up the other 80% of our resources.

Third, we illustrate the level of innovation in relationship to the technical and adaptive challenges. The key is to emphasize that we need to portfolio of innovations but most of the innovations we do will address technical challenges.

It is extremely dangerous to ignore any level of innovation and it would be foolish to focus only on adaptive challenges. Your goal should be to create a culture of innovation, recruit a diverse group of people, and define a innovation process that will enable to you innovate at all levels of your organization.