There are plenty of innovation and ideation efforts that yield new ideas for growth but never generate a dime for their inventors or the companies that develop them. Why is this the case?
In my experience over the last 30 years it’s in part because many inventors or developers of ideas don’t understand how to jump the gap from ideas to actually selling them. This is also called the “commercialization conundrum” - the idea for a new product or technology looks good in the lab or the shop but nobody can sell it.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to think like an entrepreneur rather than an inventor from the beginning? This means shifting thinking to finding opportunities to solve a problem or fill a gap to meet a customer’s needs in new or novel ways. Anticipating how to solve current and future problems in new and sometimes simple ways is at the heart of thinking entrepreneurially. Ultimately, the goal of any innovation strategy, ideation event or market growth plan is to develop sustainable and profitable business growth. In other words, making more money.
Growth by innovation typically comes from new products or services, finding new customers, providing new value to existing customers or communicating your marketing message more clearly to target markets.
Here are some key steps you should keep in mind when attempting to commercialize a promising idea:
Make sure you answer the following questions about your ideas:
Conduct technical development or R&D to fill gaps in the product and how it solves problems. Build a quick and dirty prototype and get as much feedback from potential customers as possible to make it better. Develop a practical marketing and sales strategy before you go to market. Finally, execute your plan using Dr. Deming’s Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle of continuous improvement.
Following this step-by-step approach to commercialization will get you to market faster than your competitors and teach you a considerable amount about what works in innovation and business growth strategies.