It takes preparation to embark on an innovation journey


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Hi,

I chanced upon your website when I was searching for information on implementing innovation, and was wondering if you can share some ideas on how to start an innovation project?

Just Asking

Dear Just,

Thanks for Asking.

I am going on a limb and assume that you are actually thinking of starting a small project with the view of growing business. Obviously there are other reasons to innovate: process optimization, cost reduction, productivity improvement, and the like. Each of them has a little twist in the application of innovation, but I will be focusing on business growth. If you have queries for the other aspects, please drop me a line.

1. It starts with an intent

I suppose this email depicts that intent. Yet the intent is more than, “We need to grow our business.” It needs to be clearer, like, “Our customers need something new. We have to expand our product portfolio, especially to the twenty-somethings.” Now that is much better!

2. It grows into a hypothesis

Once you know whom you are serving, then you need to identify a hypothesis. For example, the hypothesis could be, “Twenty-Somethings are mobile savvy. We need to offer mobile solutions.” Do you know this for a fact? No. Do you know what they need? No. These should therefore be tested.

3. It develops into options

Create several options of how you are going to achieve what you want, matching your ability to produce and to distribute. After all, it may be easy to make ONE such product, but we might not be able to make 20,000 of these products and ship them out effectively.

4. It becomes a prototype (actually, two!)

Create several prototypes. Having only one would create an issue of trying to make it work. If you had two, you would not really be trying to root for your solution, because both solutions are yours!

5. It is tested in the market

With your two prototypes in hand, go to the market to see which works, and why. Look for ways they will fail in the market, so that you can improve on them. The intent of the market-testing phase is not so much to make money (although that would be great!), as to find out what works, and what does not. Don’t be in a hurry to move past this stage because the more information you have, the better it would be for your full-scale launch.

6. It is fine-tuned for a bigger launch

Tweak your ideas and continue testing. Fine-tune your processes, finding things that will help you score big. Implement those ideas and shape the way it is going to be launched.

7. It is finally launched!

Once you have all your “i’s” dotted, and “t’s” crossed, you are ready to hit the market big time. At this stage you would have enough information to be able to get funding to expand your new market innovation far and wide. Now is not the time to be meek; seize all the ways available to you to implement for maximum growth.

There you are Just; a simple 7-step process to get your innovation project from idea to market.

I hope you find this useful. Let me know how it went.

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