Innovation … the good and bad news

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The good news is it’s not an overly complicated process, in fact there are only three basic steps involved, in order:

#1 IDEATION
#2 PROTOTYPING
#3 EXECUTION

IDEATION:

Is the first and fun part. Basically ideation is a fancy word for having a good idea or concept. And where it actually originates is the source of countless books on creativity and innovation.

But be assured ideation is not confined to mad inventors, universities or business think tanks; great ideas can come from any number of sources. As they say in the US: ‘good ideas’ are like ‘assholes’ … i.e. every body has one!

Even so you’d probably be amazed at how many ‘break through’ brilliant ideas can be dreamed up by switched on professional creatives over a well lubricated ‘long’ lunch.

PROTOTYPING:

Is all about mocking up a sample. It’s a fact of life that most people have great difficulty understanding a new concept or invention till they actually see it in a tangible form. I can imagine that in future 3D printers will likely be a great help in many situations.

Running trials with prototypes is usually the time when innovators see for the first time if their supposedly original idea actually does offer some real benefits to would be customers.

That is: does it have the potential to save time, money and/or is it fun to use. This step involves a lot more work than ideation and tends to quickly weed out a lot of the less viable innovations.

EXECUTION:

After a successful prototype (or beta version) is developed and trialled bringing the invention to market commences. This is nearly always the ‘bad’ news part of the process.

For the record, according to Omaha-based investment guru Warren Buffett history clearly shows that Imitators are nearly always better than Innovators in introducing new ideas to market. My personal experience reinforces the need for innovators to collaborate and surround themselves with experts and allies with complimentary ideas and resources at this critical stage.

To reinforce this point the business press often highlights well known Silicon Valley-based digital innovators still struggling to develop sustainable business models for their fledgling businesses; many years after users embraced their wildly popular web-based services.

To my mind there are only two US-based thought leaders on the topic of ‘executing’ innovation (often portrayed simply by others as entrepreneurship) they are Professors Clayton Christensen and Geoffery Moore (just Google for numerous links and YouTube videos).

Australia is further hampered by a complete absence of Venture Capital (don’t get me started). However it should be noted that even in the US only 4% of all innovations ever secure VC funding.

Certainly, at the moment, the ‘much maligned’ 3 Fs (Friends, Family & Fools) are the only realistic means of ever providing much-needed capital to help bring your innovative new idea to market.

Where the so-called Sophisticated Investors exactly fit in this continuum I’m not sure but the Federal Government should recognise the role high-worth individuals can play in this perceived ‘risky’ area here in Australia – Note for PM Malcolm Turnbull.

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PUBLISHER: Dr Andrew M Connery has been active online since 2001. Andrew completed his PhD at the UOW’s Sydney Business School in 2015 his doctoral dissertation ‘Overcoming Barriers to the Introduction of Perceived Disruptive Innovations in to Rigid Efficient Systems’. A B2B marketing practitioner and SEO/SEM consultant by profession his specialty area is overcoming local search engine bias.

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