Assess Innovation Core Attributes

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Commercialization Blog Series

Lots of academic research has been done on commercialization strategies and entrepreneurship. Peter Drucker seems to have started it all and was one of my heroes during my MBA life phase. Experience is a different teacher however. The act of working with 100’s of companies at various stages of commercial development has taught me a few practical things about getting traction in the marketplace. This blog series is a quick snap shot at some of those lessons learned and questions asked to help guide individuals and companies through the maze of decision making alternatives. Certainly it does not contain ALL the issues but, from my experience, taking these suggestions to heart will lead you to a greater probability of success than otherwise; certainly more likely than following academia into the abyss.

Assess Innovation Core Attributes- post #2

Innovation by its very nature is different and new. Describing the innovation can be a challenge. Catalog the core value carefully and with a focus on external interests; avoiding the myriad of internal voices that have alternate agendas. Segment the innovation key attributes according to evaluator interests: customers, engineers, operations, etc. By knowing which attributes are most valuable to which group a clearer picture of the overall value proposition will immerge. Often the true value of an innovation lies in the unique value to a specific group within a specific situation. Redefine these attributes as features, functions, and benefits, noting the actual emotional impact of each one. Define an overall visionary impact to place context for the innovation.  Create proof points to support the benefits of the key attributes. Supply analytical, quantitative, financial, and emotional information for a comprehensive landscape of supporting messages. These will become the meat of marketing material later.

As you investigate the value of your innovation be sure to place key attributes in “context”. This means placing key features in actual user situations.  It is the equivalent of pure science being interesting but only valuable when placed in context and in application of the science. So many innovations sound really interesting until placed in user’s hands and in certain circumstances; what follows is often the harsh reality of “who cares”. Challenge the value of attributes with creative substitutions. What could be used instead of the innovation that is already being used or is easily available at lower costs? Evaluate the marginal/relative value. This is more important than the simple straightforward value.

Finally, understand the innovation within the context of a new business model. What may be only marginally useful can be a must have with the right business model. The search for new business models can be as difficult as proving the true marginal value of your innovation. Stopping short of this effort limits the probabilities of success and diminishes the long-term value of your innovation. It is far more difficult to duplicate a business model than reverse engineer a technology innovation.

Post 1 in the series click here

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