Large incumbent firms pursue exploitatative and exploratory projects simultaneously. Theirs is a portfolio approach to innovation management and portfolios of exploratory innovation are termed Innovations Streams. The theoretical view on exploitation - exploration however seems to be stuck in a dichotomy. This has several implications for empirical works measuring a firm’s innovativeness in terms of a high-level and non-nuanced dichotomy of innovation states. So, we formulate a more-nuanced typology in terms of a firm’s activities at its core business and non-core activities. We view innovation programs based on the uncertainty of their value-creation potential and mode of technology acquisition. This view enables us to calibrate the distance of exploratory activities from the firm’s core business and bring forth an interesting counter-intuitive notion on what constitutes core and non-core. Theoretically, it takes a firm-centric view of innovation portfolio management. From a practitioner lens, it provides a more nuanced method to answer the “where to play?” question.