By: Chuck Frey
Innovation is a complex and difficult process. To increase your odds of success when starting an innovation initiative, there are a number of factors you ought to keep in mind.
Innovation is a complex and difficult process. To increase your odds of success when starting an innovation initiative, there are a number of factors you ought to keep in mind, based upon a thrilling presentation I heard by Dr. Pinar Ozcan at the Barcelona IESE Business School:
- Make sure that you are focused on a relatively immature market where traditional players still haven’t become established.
- The more ambiguities and absence of policies, the greater the opportunities for innovation. In contrast, highly regulated industries are rarely hotbeds of innovation.
- Look for opportunities to contribute to overall market growth – beyond your enterprise.
Once you are established in a growing market, it’s time to look for alliances to help power your growth. “You should never innovate alone,” says Dr. Ozcan. Here are some tips to do this in a low-risk way:
- Identify similar-sized companies with complementary strengths that complement that you can partner with.
- Or target a “big fish” that has the deep pockets and resources to help trigger greater growth in your market.
- If market creation is a social process, you should promote interaction at all levels and become the connector that converts the opportunity into a reality.
Finally, Dr. Ozcan urges innovators to manage the risk of their new ventures:
- Define a strong stop-loss strategy. Have a plan in place to cut your losses, with clear criteria for when you will pull the plug on your innovation venture, if needed.
- Always look for the best “not too soon/not too late” moment to join a market. I know, it’s easy to say, but much harder to do.
- A “big fish” partner can shift from an asset to a liability if it isn’t aggressive enough at pursuing market opportunities.