While both innovation consulting and strategy consulting aim to help organizations improve and grow, they focus on different aspects of business development and problem-solving. Knowing the distinctions between these two consulting approaches can help companies choose the right type of support for their specific needs.


  1. Focus:
  • Strategy Consulting: Primarily concerned with overall business direction, competitive positioning, and long-term planning.
  • Innovation Consulting: Focuses on creating new products, services, processes, or business models, often emphasizing creativity and disruptive thinking.
  1. Timeframe:
  • Strategy Consulting: Typically deals with mid to long-term horizons (3-5 years or more).
  • Innovation Consulting: Can address both short-term innovations and long-term transformative changes.
  1. Approach:
  • Strategy Consulting: Often uses established frameworks, market analysis, and data-driven decision-making.
  • Innovation Consulting: Employs design thinking, rapid prototyping, and experimentation methodologies.
  1. Deliverables:
  • Strategy Consulting: Produces comprehensive strategic plans, market entry strategies, or organizational restructuring recommendations.
  • Innovation Consulting: Delivers new product concepts, improved processes, or innovative business models.
  1. Risk Tolerance:
  • Strategy Consulting: Generally more risk-averse, focusing on proven methods and incremental improvements.
  • Innovation Consulting: More comfortable with uncertainty and calculated risks, often pushing for breakthrough ideas.
  1. Skill Sets:
  • Strategy Consulting: Emphasizes analytical skills, industry knowledge, and strategic thinking.
  • Innovation Consulting: Values creativity, design skills, and the ability to think outside conventional boundaries.
  1. Client Interaction:
  • Strategy Consulting: Often works primarily with top executives and board members.
  • Innovation Consulting: May engage with a broader range of employees across different levels and departments.


  1. Both aim to improve organizational performance and competitiveness.
  2. Both require a deep understanding of the client’s business and industry.
  3. Both often involve data analysis and market research.
  4. Both can lead to significant organizational changes.

When to Choose Each:

Strategy Consulting is often preferred when:

  • Defining overall business direction
  • Entering new markets or geographies
  • Making major investment decisions
  • Restructuring the organization

Innovation Consulting is typically chosen for:

  • Developing new products or services
  • Reimagining customer experiences
  • Fostering a culture of innovation
  • Addressing disruptive market changes

In practice, the lines between strategy and innovation consulting can blur, with many firms offering elements of both. Some companies may engage both types of consultants, using strategy consultants to set the overall direction and innovation consultants to drive creative implementation.

Increasingly, there’s a trend towards integrating strategic and innovative thinking. This has led to the emergence of firms that blend both approaches, recognizing that in today’s fast-paced business environment, strategy needs to be innovative, and innovation needs to be strategic.

Deciding between innovation and strategy consulting depends on an organization’s specific challenges, goals, and the type of change they wish to drive. Both approaches offer valuable insights and can be crucial in helping companies navigate complex business landscapes and achieve sustainable growth.