How to start innovation process?

What is innovation?

Innovation is turning an idea or a vision into value – for you and your customer. Innovation process has outlined pathway from idea to value. How do you do that?

In theory, there are five stages. We start with a problem/need:

  • Defining a problem (identifying a problem that you want to solve or an idea which you believe can solve a problem) or unmet human need. You may come to insight on different ways, like: using technique SPIN (asking questions about Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-if satisfied. Then, move
  • To generate ideas, which you, by testing and validating, turn into a viable business model. Generating ideas is Ideation, which is the process of forming lots of ideas to explore options for solving a problem. You should come up with as many ideas as you can, as this increases your chances of coming up with a great idea. Then the ideation process means selecting the right ideas to move ahead with and form business model.  This is not easy to do, and there are several Ideation tools that you should apply to come to the results faster and find out if you can turn your idea into real value. For example: 6-3-5 Brainwriting is one form of brainstorming, or Card Clusters, or just start with a simple brainstorming and then try to use other methods to think about how your ideas might solve the problem you have identified.
  • Viable business model involves all elements like: your innovative solution; deal/form for the market; customer value proposition; (target) market segments; comparative advantage; credible team, financials, in general). Continuing with and
  • By developing (incubate, tune) your business model, recommending to do it within some accelerator program and then,
  • To start scaling your business, already proved on the market, which means you have first paid customers and revenue.

In reality, the process is not liner, it is more like curved line. It’s a lot of obstacles and pivots. Pivots are important, and they are in line with four indicating questions.

Questions are directed to the solution Innovator propose to the market. Whether your innovative product, service, process..helps and works, which focus mainly at the beginning of the project because you want to find out if your idea is valid, and it is about your product. Even if people want to have it, it helps in their need, but it doesn’t work for some reason, they won’t use it for long. Therefore, you first of all want to make out that it works. In this early phase communication is mainly through pitching in order to get first customer and provide finance.

The third and fourth questions are, whether your innovative business scales, and if it sells. These two questions are about your customer. You want to grow your customer – it scales, and also to find out if they are willing to pay for it – it sells, which means that you can turn it into a real value and monetize it. And for that, you need to communicate with customers, which is marketing activity in all it forms, from marketing automation, advertising, networks’posting and more important nowadays – storytelling.

Now, how do you come to these answers?

Respond is a lot of assumptions’ testing and experimentation. You need to perform experiments, or build a prototype to find out if your innovation works or not. Try to answer these four questions as soon as possible and conclude if your innovation is feasible or not. If not, do not proceed further. By experimentation we validated idea that it works. We do it in order to get feedback and avoid a later product failure.

When it comes to valuable business model, Lean Startup methodology is proven way to get test it. One more tool is Business Model Canvas. More details soon.

Check out our Startup Corner for INNOVATIVE BUSINESS VENTURES and get help to become  #InnovatorEntrepreneur.