The 4×4 Innovation Strategy

Online Discussion Forum

This discussion forum is meant for my book, The 4×4 Innovation Strategy. Here are some initial thoughts to spark a conversation with you and other memebers:

The Transcendent Power Behind Innovation

There is an innovator inside some of us. Not in everyone, but in only a few selected people.

It is my firm belief that you are either born an innovator or you will never become one. The ability to innovate is inseparable from nature.

Innovation is a deeply human instinct that cannot be analyzed or automated. At its most fundamental, innovation is a capacity for imagination, inventiveness, inspiration… and the ability to combine these powers to create new technologies.

Because most people do not have it, innovation can seem a mystery; a realm of genius or chance, accessible only by a lucky few. We celebrate famous innovators and inventors for how their ideas have changed our world.

But this is just one side of the coin. Being an innovative person often is a curse and not a blessing. Many innovators end up in bankruptcy and depression.

The difficulty lies in developing your fragile new ideas into viable, commercially-successful technologies. Because innovation, if done wrongly, has drastic consequences.

The good news is that there is a natural structure governing the field of innovation.

It is my calling to shed light on this structure. This is my ultimate reason for writing my book “The 4×4 Innovation Strategy” for you, a professional who works with inventors. Because I want innovators to have a guide map for bringing out the best in themselves, instead of stubbornly fighting against nature.

Finding Order in Chaos

Because “innovation” can be such a broad topic, most people do it in a very haphazard way.

Innovators can get so excited by the power of their ideas that they fail to consider other aspects.

  • Can their ideas be developed into a saleable product?
  • What are the barriers to entry for selling the product?
  • How do you prevent your competitors from copying your ideas, or at least manage that risk?
  • How do you get paid and ensure sufficient cash flow?
  • Are there customers who actually want the product, and are they willing to change their habits?
  • What happens if customers cannot be taught to use your new product?

I believe that anyone seriously interested in succeeding at innovation needs to impose some structure. There must be a clear hierarchy of what to do, and when to do it. In short, a plan.

The good news is that there is a natural Innovation Strategy, where you apply the four innovation tactics of R&D, FTO, IP Protection and Market Validation across the four standard technology development phases of Idea, Conceptual model, Prototype and Product.


The Four Innovation Tactics

If strategy is the big picture goals and the overall plan for how to get there, then tactics are the specific actions you will take along the way.

Our innovation tactics cover four areas:

  • R&D, or how to develop your product
  • FTO, or how to identify potential obstacles when you bring your product to market
  • IP Protection, or how to defend what makes your product unique
  • Market Validation, or how to determine if the product is something the market will pay for

For each of these four areas, there are clear rules you should follow. I will cover them in Part C of my book.

And, these all come with a time element. Speed is of utmost importance in the proper application of our innovation tactics.


The Importance of Getting It Right

The transcendent power of innovation naturally leads to the hierarchy of our Innovation Strategy, the rules of our four innovation tactics, and now, the consequences of your actions.

But consequences do not show up immediately. Success is the result of many good decisions taken progressively over time. Similarly, failure is the culmination of many bad decisions.

Depending on the decisions you make, the outcome could go either way.

The Forest and The Trees

To me, innovation strategy is like a forest, and innovation tactics are the trees.

If you see only the big picture forest, you miss out on the many details that require attention. This happens if you have a strong vision for your idea, but no clear plan to bring it to market.

If you focus only on cultivating one tree, you risk ignoring the rest of the ecosystem. This happens when you prioritize product over marketing, or IP over FTO.

And as in any natural system, the laws of time must be followed, and slack is not permitted.

Everything is related. Everything functions within a well-ordered system. Successful innovators need to be able to switch their perspectives as needed, and use the right tools at the right time.


The forum below is intended for updates and questions about my book “The 4×4 Innovation Strategy”.

Please note: this is a community. Your goal should be to shed light, not create heat. If you think you have a better answer than someone else, make the case for your recommendation. Show specifically why yours is better, not why the other suggestions are worthless. The accent is on specific.

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7 thoughts on “The 4×4 Innovation Strategy

  1. I always get the same question from my clients: “My earlier point, perhaps expressed more succinctly, is that while you seek to engender trust after seeing what you sent I remain unclear as to what “4×4” means.”

    1. what “4×4” means:

      This is a clue for successfully bringing breakthrough inventions through the 4 technolöogy readiness stages from idea” over “conceptual model” and “prototype” to “product”, while touching all innovative areas R&D”, “freedom-to-operate (FTO)”, “Intellectual Property (IP)” and “market response”.

      Just as described in the figure on page 15 of my free abridged book.

  2. why are there so many different versions of your book? I can see that there is; an abridged version, a comprehensive version, a comprehensive version with index, a comprehensive version without index, several pdf versions, an .epub version, a comprehensive paperback version, I have seen that there is now even a hardcover version.

    1. You need to know the story behind my book in order to understand why there are so many versions of my book.

      I started with talks about topics that many of my clients brought up over a very long time period, something like 20 years. I gave these talks because I saw a recurring structure in their problems. I also give lectures about IP law, at my Alma Mater The Technical University of Munich (TUM),
      And then there were many articles that I have written over time. They all had my clients and their needs in mind.

      On my 50th birthday, I sat down and contemplated why I have been seeing so many small inventors and start-ups failing. I decided to find out what makes a business successful, in order to leave a legacy for all creative and innovative people who want to become successful business people themselves. That led me to read clinical psychology at the University of Toronto (Canada), and to study all the scholarly articles about entrepreneurship that I could get hold of.

      The result of my quest has been a huge amount of written material and sources, and it is still growing today.

      Covid-19 and the lockdowns that came with it triggered me to start writing a book. We have first compiled my existing materials into something that could be a book. This “something” was 400 pages long.

      Nobody reads a business book with 400 pages, and it was clear to me that I write my book for business people, and those who want to be them. That was why I have condensed this long version into a 151 pages long “comprehensive version”, which is my Rifle Edition. This book forms the “umbrella theory” that covers my professional experience as a patent attorney. Everything starts there. My Rifle Edition comes with an index where this index makes sense: for all those formats that have fixed page numbers. That was how the pdf format of my Rifle version was born. I have immediately put it up for sale on my website here.

      Many people told me that they do not like the pdf version when printed out on A4 paper. And I understand that. So that same pdf version served for generating the Amazon version which comes on paper, as a print-on-demand with a paperback envelope.

      But before even the pdf version with index was created I decided to compile an abridged version of my book with only 50 pages. I wanted my message out, so I decided to give it away for free. And this is what you get here on my website. I also put it up to the Kindle library, and I sell it for US$ 0.99 because this is the minimum price that authors can state there.

      Once the abridged Kindle version was up, it was a small step to offer it as a paperback version too. Amazon makes that very easy, and the paperback Kindle version of my book sells actually better than the Kindle e-book version itself. That was a surprise to me. I do not make money from that paperback Kindle version, I sell it at costs.

      Holding the paperback Rifle Edition in my hands gave me so much joy that I decided to get a limited hardcover version going, for book lovers that I send out as per email request, together with a hand-written dedication if that is wanted. Honestly, the hard-cover looks amazing, there is ample space provided around the printed text and the pages lay flat so it is easy to write your comments in.

      Oh, and I have forgotten the ,epub version of my comprehensive Rifle Edition on That one was the last version so far. It has no index because it is intended for e-readers such as Kobo or Onyx.

      Have i forgotten any version here?