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.