The word Innovation in it’s simplest term means to create something new. There are lot of companies that toil to innovate with hopes that their product will potentially disrupt the market. Only a handful manage to create something worthwhile, and among them some fail because of the inability of product to make any money.
“Are my aspirations greater than my resources?” This is the major question that drives entrepreneurs to innovate. Your aspirations refer to your goals, and your resources refer to land, labor, capital and enterprise. You will be forced to innovate only when your aspirations exceed your resources. As long as you are in the comfort zone, you will feel no compulsion, but having goals that are well out of your current reach will push you to innovate. Our desires see no boundaries, but the same cannot be said about our resources. Innovation is bridging that gap between what we want to achieve with what we can achieve. Turning our desirables into executable action through our existing resources is the fundamental element of innovation.
There are many effective tools out there that an entrepreneur can use to measure weather an innovation has a chance to sustain in the market. One such tool involves identifying the target customer, analyzing their habit pattern and creating the product that fits smoothly into the habits of these identified customer. Customers are culmination of their habits and those products that claims to perform these habits better will have a greater chance in selling themselves.
A person ventures out when he is not satisfied with the previous status quo. There persists a problem in the market and he has set out to provide a solution. Before going any further, the person has to be decided on which demography of customers will he be effectively able to add value. Fundamentally, a product should be able to prove that it has utility to that set of people. So, a gigantic hurdle is to identify its potential customers and create a solution that they would absolutely buy. Mind Mapping is a great exercise to start, with regards to identifying the habits of the targeted customers. Survey is a method of Mind Mapping, because it allows to effectively predict customer behaviors from the answers received in the survey.
Sandbox of innovation
It is necessary to know the current situation of the company beforehand and Sandbox is a tool that shows the present scenario with regards to the product. There are various aspects that are correlated with innovation and Innovation does not stop with just creating a product. From a business point of view, the product should be able to complete other non-negotiable criteria which is presented in pictorial form as the sandbox of innovation.
Every box has a scale and rating the situation of the Product on a scale of 1 to 5 on every criteria. Joining the points of the scale of the company forms a web and makes it easier to access the Product.
Scale: This involves the entire demography of the market which the company has set out to capture.
Speed: This answer the question wherein with the current resources, how fast a company can achieve its scale.
Precision: Doing once is not enough. The company should be able to create the same product every time without any failure. Precision will define the Brand as customers expect the same production every time they consume.
Sustainable: Every business needs to introspect weather their business will be sustainable or not. The way to check its sustainability is analyzing If the product provides value to the customers, if it’s rare in the market and is it hard to imitate. One that checks off all is considered highly sustainable.
Rule of Law: This means the fundamental rules of the company and the product has to follow. It should not be violating laws of any kind.
Financial Viability: In the end the product should be able to generate money for the business. Company needs know answers to questions such as: In how many years does it take to recover fixed costs? Are my revenues covering my running costs?
Go to Market Strategy
After a product is complete, there should be a plan on deployment of the product to the market. Since the demographics and the habits of customers are identified, a suitable strategy is put into play to capture the market. The fundamentals of a strategy is given below: –
Enlist: The first phase of this strategy involves recognizing your target market. You need to make sure you have enlisted every potential customer, so you can formulate a marketing strategy for each specific target market.
Engage: Once you have enlisted your potential customer base, you need to engage them. A commonly known method of involvement is the AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action) Strategy. It starts with grabbing the customers’ attention, long enough to create interest that will eventually build up a desire to take action and purchase the product. This model is designed to elevate pain in the minds of the target market in such a way that it can only be reduced upon purchase of the product.
Empower: By solving a problem or satisfying a need you empower your customers. Empowering your customer is very crucial to any business as it is the foundation towards building customer loyalty.
Enslave: This is a byproduct of the previous three strategies, which ensures that customers prefer the product over it’s substitutes and purchase it over again enabling a steady cash flow for the company.