This is the third installment on a three part series on Commercialization of Ideas. If you’ve been following along, you have learned:
- The importance of thinking like an entrepreneur to find problems and needs before spending time and resources on developing ideas for new products or services.
- Continually scanning new developments with customers and markets that generate opportunities for solving problems.
- Understanding how your own internal Hidden Assets can be leveraged to reveal new ways to solve customer problems and spur innovation internally to find new products and services your customers don’t know they need yet.
- Why developing a Future Focus within your company will help find opportunities for new ideas much better than by following the traditional Voice of the Customer approach.
- That Sales Growth Strategies based on innovative new products and services are significantly more profitable than other strategies.
- That your odds for success will be dramatically increased by articulating an Overt Benefit, a Meaningfully Unique Difference and a Real Reason to Believe, from the perspective of your customers about your new product or service.
- If you’re not unique, you better be cheap
How to Ring the Bell
It’s time to think about how you actually “ring the bell” and succeed in your commercialization efforts. The stages of commercialization typically are the following for most new product and service ideas:
- Evaluate – analyze markets, customers and existing products / services to uncover problems that represent opportunities to innovate.
- Develop – to design and build a product or service, develop the processes needed to produce or deliver, the marketing and sales strategies needed to go to market and the initial prototypes for feedback and testing to improve the idea
- Live Testing – to deliver the prototype product or service to “live” customers to seek more in-depth feedback and suggestions aimed at continuous improvement BEFORE committing resources for launch.
- Launch – formally launching the product or service to the first level of customers, sometimes called “early adopters”, and then a larger leap to more mainstream customers. Monitoring progress, modifying features or benefits, changing marketing and sales tactics are all parts of the Launch phase.
Twelve Rules for Commercializing Ideas
The following 12 rules are an excellent reference point for commercializing ideas, they are from Brown University and can be found at the following web link: https://wiki.brown.edu/confluence/download/attachments/1443180/12 rules for commercializing ideas.pdf?version=1
- Concept Name: the Purpose and Version of the idea and your 30 second elevator speech describing it as succinctly as possible.
- Concept Overview: one or two key benefits
- Core User Description: specifically who you intend to sell to that will benefit most from the product or service
- Storyboard of User Experience: Tell your story from the User’s Perspective
- Prototype: give a brief description of the latest prototype
- Benefits & Features: in that order, focusing more on benefits than features
- Key Design Assumptions: why are you pursuing the current design and what have you tried in the past
- User Feedback: who have you shown the idea to in the past and what was their reaction
- Estimated Revenue: a critical step you must take seriously. What are your best estimates of revenue, who will buy the product or service, what key assumptions are you making, how will the product be distributed, etc.
- Status of Intellectual Property: what IP is there associated with the new product or service and what steps have you taken in terms of protection?
- Key Uncertainties: 70-90% of new product and services don’t survive more than one year, what are your unanswered questions?
- Expansion Opportunities: demonstrate how this idea could grow.
Good luck with your efforts at commercialization and may you ring the bell loud and often!