“Put Yourself in Front of the Train!”
The pure start-up has all the advantage: They seek the latest growth market and find a niche. It is a bit harder for older companies seeking acceleration in older markets. But the lessons are the same. Stop looking behind and look ahead. Here are some important considerations in seeking new market growth and commercializing innovations in totally new markets or in existing ones.
- Do your research on key segments and make sure you view them as fluid. The problem with old research methods is they are snapshots in time. Today’s new tools allow for monitoring over time of buyer sentiment, new market events and macro level changes in economic activity. There simply is no excuse these days for not putting in the time and effort to monitor a market over time to determine the “ripe” moment for innovation disruption.
- Align your innovation with the fastest growing markets. Put a “context” around your innovation that associates your innovation with rising interests and increases in buyer motivation. Determine the right messaging strategy to pull this off.
- Differentiate between “hype” growth and real growth. The key is in the practicality of the technology or market factors fueling the growth. How soft are the barriers that exist to inhibit growth? What are the factors that might mitigate these barriers? Know the real picture of these. In the days of “unicorns” and Silicon Valley start-up hype it is essential to know where real growth exists. So much seed money is put into the hype machine to raise valuations so later investors pay more. This distorts the reality of innovation success and fuels rapid demise into the “chasm”.
- Analyze your markets and business on an Innovation Adoption Continuum. Anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to work with companies in healthcare and consumer technology knows how different these markets are in facilitating and encouraging rapid adoption. Healthcare is excruciatingly slow to adopt innovation; and for good reason. People can die! Consumer technology can explode one day and be gone the next. Know the appetite of your business market for internalizing and accepting innovations. Trouble comes when executives think that their innovation will be accepted far sooner than is even possible within the risk constraints of their business.
- Seek intelligence from other competitors to support the fundamentals of growth forecasts. Know when an end-run is simply just that. Know when the competition is using innovation as an awareness strategy and when they actually intend to exploit a growth strategy. Knowing everything about the customers YOU DON’T HAVE will uncover the validity of your competitor’s approach.