Engineers and natural scientist are required to suggest successful utilization of their discoveries and secure property rights to their universities whenever possible. Here I develop a novel model that optimizes the process of innovation by dividing it into three separate phases following the pre-innovative discovery; i.e., an application phase, a design phase, and an entrepreneurial phase. The phases are identified in the well-described innovation of the electron tube from Edison’s light bulb. Each phase consists of an abductive process, where a large selection of possible solutions is created, followed by selection of viable solutions among them according to their fitness in an entrepreneurial niche. An innovation is described in an evolutionary setting, starting with a novel discovery which becomes the Source (S) of an innovation. In the application phase, a viable application (A) of the Source is selected among a variety of possible applications. This again becomes the basis for a viable design (D) in the design phase. Finally, to become a viable innovation the particular discovery, application and design has to fit into an entrepreneurial niche (N) with a high fitness. To become a successful innovation all four elements (SAN D) need to be optimized by abduction.
The present SAND model is different from all other innovative models in its focus on three separate creative abductive processes, yet current innovative theories can be described in the four dimensional innovation space by mapping along its four SAND axes. Analysis of fitness landscapes is in the present report used to visualize the events leading to incremental versus radical innovation, sustaining versus disruptive innovation, as well as the difference between technology and meaning-changes in design. Leading innovation models thus fit in as specialized scenarios under the general model. A low level of redundancy was found between the SAND model and the Stage-Gate model, but the differing theoretical foundations have the effect that the two models are complementary rather than overlapping.