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Showing posts with label Innovate-A-thon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Innovate-A-thon. Show all posts

The Role of a New Business Development Team Member

Experienced mentors can help innovators and entrepreneurs effectively and efficiently move their venture concept through the research, ideation, test, and planning stages to resourcing, launch, stability, sustainability, and growth. The role of a new business venture development team mentor is wide-ranging:

1] Mentor: experienced and trusted adviser (typically an unpaid, voluntary, part-time role)
2] Adviser: an expert willing to share their knowledge and opinions
3] Business Plan Editor: a mentor is best used in an editor role, rather than a writer
4] Voice of the Customer: keeps a light on the customer pain-pleasure spectrum
5] Voice of the Competition: ignoring the competition is never a good strategy, and there is always competition (alternatives, substitutes, replacements)
6] Voice of the Stakeholders: everyone involved with the venture must win
7] Voice of the Team Members: a balanced team is a productive team
8] Domain Expert: teaching from education and experience
9] Soothsayer: foresees the future based on experiences from the past
10] Angel Advocate: supports the team and venture, internally and externally
11] Consultant: professional expert advice (usually compensated to perform specific tasks)
12] Moderator: arbitrator, mediator
13] Coach: helps the team iterate and pivot as needed
14] Board Member, Director (not an ordinary role): helps govern the affairs of an organization
15] Teacher: instructor, guide
16] Innovation Stimulator: innovation is a continuing journey, not a destination
17] Collaborator: partner with the venture team
18] Friend: personal confidante and sounding board
19] Tool Technician: helping the team use the right tool at the right time for the right purpose
20] DXpedition Tour Guide: Discover, Define, Design, Develop, Deploy

Innovation Impact Roadmap



For 20+ years, I taught in the University of Arizona entrepreneurship program which, at one point, was ranked #1 in the world by several major business publications. 

On the whiteboard in my office, I drew a roadmap of the new venture creation process. It was, in essence, the syllabus for our entrepreneurship program in graphical form. [I was the keeper of the whiteboard, not necessarily the author of all that was there! I had some pretty wise and wonderful UA collaborators as well as entrepreneurship gurus from around the world from which the information was collected.]

Students and colleagues at UA would ask if they could take a photo of the whiteboard. Of course, yes! And I did the same. I took a photo, but ... I wanted to add a bit more here and there. And then I got carried away!! So ... the diagram you see today is the result.

One of the struggles we encountered, in teaching entrepreneurship concepts and building new ventures, is that the process is not particularly time-linear. It is often iterative, a back-and-forth process. Hence, a roadmap outlines the elements that need to be addressed, but not necessarily a hard path in doing so. At some point, the venture team should visit all the "attractions" on the map, but the order of the trip may vary depending on the nature of the venture.

The "main highway" is the mission statement, highlighted in yellow.

Essentially,this roadmap for innovation commercialization is an entrepreneurship checklist, ... the key elements that should be considered and addressed when putting together a plan for a new business venture.

PDF, JPEG, and PNG versions are available here: InnovationImpactRoadmap.com

--Jim

[7.26]

The Critical Success Factor

There are multiple factors that directly influence the health and wealth of any given business venture. These factors may be diverse and different depending on the nature of the business. The Critical Success Factor, however, is common to virtually all business ventures.

The Critical Success Factor: Earn a Profit Solving Customer Problems Better than the Competition. It is do, or die. A venture dies for one of three reasons: 1] It didn't earn a profit; 2] It didn't solve its customer's problems; 3] It wasn't better than the competitive alternatives.

Earn a Profit Solving Customer Problems Better than the Competition ... The Critical Success Factor for all business ventures.

Critical ... having the potential to become disastrous
Success ... attains prosperity
Factor ... a circumstance that contributes to an outcome

* Earn ... Teamwork!  A business employs a team of people working together to continually and profitably solve customer problems better than competing alternatives. Healthy, growing ventures follow a clear business model. An educated, experienced, collaborative, communicative team with key core competencies is paramount to success.

* Profit ... The monetary value captured by a business is appropriately called earnings. After all expenses are accounted, earnings become profit. Profit is a reward for doing a good job solving customer problems. A key source of growth funding for a business venture is earned profit. While the profit reward is "financial", the reward can and should have other elements, too. In a healthy venture culture it can actually be "fun" going to work and being part of the team, and their may well be some "fame" that results from delivering valued solutions to customers.

* Solving ... Solutions to customer problems are typically combinations of products, services, process, and methods. However, the world keeps changing as do customers and competitors. Solving customer problems, new and old, is a continuing process for sustaining a healthy venture.

* Customer ... Customers are the primary source of revenue for a business venture. Some business ventures may have only a few key customers, others may have many. A group of customers that share similar traits comprise a market segment. Many business ventures may serve multiple and varied market segments. A business venture exists to serve its customers.

* Problems ... Customer needs, wants, desires, and situations that can be adequately addressed  and resolved in a reasonable time and expense are good opportunities for a business venture.

* Better ... Continually improving value is critical to sustaining a competitive advantage. Scientists and engineers often think about innovative solutions in terms of the fit, form, function, features, and performance. The entrepreneur thinks in terms of the benefits customers will receive. Value is measured by comparing the benefits to the price. Value can be increased by delivering better benefits to customers, by lowering the price, or both. Customers decide what offers the better value. In the long run, the products, services, processes, and methods that deliver a better value win the business.  In short: Value = Benefits / Price

* Competition ... There are (almost) always competing solutions and ventures from other sources that are directly comparable to our solution. This competition includes indirect alternatives, substitutes, and replacements that could serve customer requirements. Best to assume we have competition, even if we don't yet know who or what. Competition is not always a bad thing ... competitors can help validate and build new markets, and sometimes competitors can become collaborative partners.

Potential Business Models

1. Design physical products/merchandise
2. Manufacture physical products/merchandise
3. Sell physical products/merchandise
4. Create information/content/data
5. Aggregate or distribute information/content/data
6. Provide personal or business service
7. Provide expert advice/consultation
8. Provide money/financing
9. Provide labor or human resources
10. Transport products/services
11. Provide infrastructure/telecommunications
12. Provide in-person or online marketplace for others to sell goods or services

How to Solve a Problem

  1. Define the problem
  2. Define a set of criteria for a good solution
  3. Explore potential causes of the problem
  4. Explore existing solutions
  5. Identify alternative approaches for resolving the problem
  6. Select the best approach for resolving the problem based on the criteria for a good solution (number 2 above)
  7. Plan the implementation of this approach
  8. Implement the plan
  9. Monitor the results
  10. Verify the problem has been resolved
[1.05]

Our Purpose in Life

Ahhh, that classic question: What's the meaning of life?  Hmmm ... suppose it really is "42"?! (You'll have to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for those details.)  In the meantime, here's a chart that may help you with your answer ...


The SCORE SLATE Mentoring Guideline

The US Small Business Administration SCORE program has a well-refined guideline for business mentoring, using the acronym SLATE ...

S] Stop & Suspend Judgment
L] Listen & Learn
A] Assess & Analyze
T] Test Ideas & Teach with Tools
E] Expectations Setting & Encouraging the Dream

As important as what mentors do is what they don't do: they don't make decisions for the venture team.

[1.03]

Stages of Venture Evolution

Successful business ventures typically move from a] problem/solution ideation to b] planning to c] startup to d] stable to e] sustainable to f] scalable.

Another perspective ...

1. Opportunity ... gap in market, new technology ... maybe, just maybe, we can do something here
2. Idea ... clear problems, viable solutions ... hmmm, looks like there is something here
3. Concept ... viable strategies for earning a profit solving customer problems better than the competition
4. Venture ... viable innovation concept (product, service, process, position, method); viable team (innovator, entrepreneur, money manager); viable resources (people, places, things, time, money)
5. Organization ... team, roles, clear strategies,
6. Company ... legal entity (corporation, LLC, et alia), pre-sales, unstable financials (raising funds)
7. Business ... low-hanging fruit, sales, customers, stable, positive EBITDA, viable business model
8. Enterprise ... scale, scope, markets, growth, significant EBITDA, defined task and assignments, employees
9. Institution ... significant market share, significant industry position, re-invention, continual innovation
10. Tombstone ... the cows have run out of milk

Marketing Brochure Prototype

A prototype marketing brochure is a good tool for "testing the waters" with prospective customers.
  1. Easy way to test a new product, service, solution idea
  2. Easy to iterate a concept
  3. Easy to put in front of prospective customers for feedback: test, measure, learn
  4. Customer can become part of the design process ... pencil and paper and eraser
  5. Inexpensive ... time, money, resources
  6. Works for most any idea concept
  7. Flexible "size" (number of pages) although the fewer the better 
  8. Can incorporate in the venture business plan, summary
  9. Can use to design and develop a product and/or service based on prospective customer reactions to the product and/or service describe in the prototype brochure
Here's a "pencil sketch" of a marketing brochure template:


The C's of Communications

  1. Clear: Make the goal of your message clear to your recipient. Ask yourself what the purpose of your communication is.
  2. Concise: Your message should also be brief and to the point. Why communicate your message in six sentences when you can do it in three?
  3. Concrete: Ensure your message has important details and facts, but that nothing deters the focus of your message.
  4. Correct: Make sure what you're writing or saying is accurate. Bad information doesn't help anybody. Also make sure that your message is typo free.
  5. Coherent: Does your message make sense? Check to see that all of your points are relevant and that everything is consistent with the tone and flow or your text.
  6. Complete: Your message is complete when all relevant information is included in an understandable manner and there is a clear "call to action". Does your audience know what you want them to do?
  7. Courteous: Ensure that your communication is friendly, open, and honest, regardless of what the message is about. Be empathetic and avoid passive-aggressive tones.
  8. Clutching: Make sure your message has AIDA: grabss Attention, develosp Interest, builds Desire, triggers Action. Be sure there is a clear "path to action" for the reader to take ... call, email, website, et alia.

What's in a Name?

What's in a name? When deciding what to call your venture, the answer is plenty. A venture name can be too broad--or too confining. It can be too quirky--or not memorable enough. The challenge is to pick a name that's catchy, but also fits well with your particular type of venture. Here are 10 questions to ask as you ponder various names, keeping in mind that the choice could make all the difference in establishing your venture in the marketplace.

What do I want a name to accomplish for my venture?
A name can help separate you from competitors and reinforce your venture's image, says Steve Manning, founder of Sausalito, Calif.-based Igor, a naming agency. He suggests clearly defining your brand positioning before choosing a name, as Apple did to differentiate itself from corporate sounding names like IBM and NEC. "They were looking for a name that supported a brand positioning strategy that was to be perceived as simple, warm, human, approachable and different," Manning says.

Will the name be too limiting?
Don't box yourself in, says Phoenix-based Martin Zwilling, CEO and founder of Startup Professionals Inc., an advisor to early-stage startups. Avoid picking names that could limit your venture from enlarging its product line or expanding to new locations, he says, citing the example of Angelsoft.com, a venture formed in 2004 to help connect startup companies with angel investors. A few years ago, the venture realized it needed to appeal equally to venture capital and other types of investors. So, it did a costly rebranding to Gust.com, which is less specific and evokes a nice "wind in the sails" image.

Does the name make sense for my venture?
For most companies, it's best to adopt a name that provides some information about their products and services. That doesn't mean it can't also have a catchy ring. Lawn and Order, for example, is a good name for a landscaping venture because it gets people's attention and also clearly relates to the venture's services, Zwilling says. While unusual words like Yahoo and Fogdog sometimes work, quirky names are always a crapshoot.

Is the name easy to remember?
The shorter the name, the better, Zwilling says, suggesting that venture owners limit it to two syllables and avoid using hyphens or other special characters. He also recommends skipping acronyms, which mean nothing to most people, and picking a name whose first letter is closer to A than Z because certain algorithms and directory listings work alphabetically. "When choosing an identity for a venture or a product, simple and straightforward are back in style and cost less to brand," he says.

Is the name easy for people to spell?
That may seem to be a given, but some companies purposely select names that consumers can't easily spell. It's a risky strategy to try to make a venture stand out, and some naming consultants recommend against it. "If your name looks like a typo, scratch it off the list," says Alexandra Watkins, founder and chief innovation officer of Eat My Words, a naming service based in San Francisco. She also believes that it's important that your name be spelled exactly as it sounds. Otherwise, you will forever have to spell it out for people when saying the name or your venture's email or website address aloud. "Think of how often you have to spell your own first or last name for people," she says. "Why would you want a brand name with the same problem?"

How will potential customers first encounter your name?
Some naming experts believe there are exceptions to the easy-to-spell rule, especially if most people will see your name for the first time in a print or online ad. For example, consider Zulily, the online venture offering daily deals for moms, babies and kids. "If you just heard that name, you might not guess how to spell it, but the venture's aggressive online ad campaign has meant that most people first see it spelled out," says Chris Johnson, a naming consultant in Seattle and author of The Name Inspector blog, who came up with the name Zulily. "The payoff is that the unusual sound and spelling of the name have helped them create a very distinctive brand."

Does the name sound good and is it easy to pronounce?
Manning says the sound of the name is important in conveying a feeling of energy and excitement. You also must be sure potential customers can easily pronounce your venture's name. "It is a hard fact that people are able to spell, pronounce and remember names that they are familiar with," he says, pointing to Apple, Stingray, Oracle and Virgin as strong names. But he doesn't like such venture names as Chordiant, Livent and Naviant. "These names are impossible to spell or remember without a huge advertising budget, and the look, rhythm and sound of them cast a cold, impersonal persona," he says.

Is your name meaningful only to yourself?
A name with hidden or personal meanings evokes nothing about your brand, and you won't be there to explain it when most people encounter it. "Refrain from Swahili, words spelled backwards, and naming things after your dog," Watkins says. She gives the example of Lynette Hoy, who was using her first and last name for her PR firm in Bainbridge Island, Wash. The name didn't work because it failed to evoke Hoy's fiery personality and passion, Watkins says. So, the company was rebranded Firetalker PR, and Hoy took the title of Fire Chief. She called her office The Firehouse, and began offering PR packages such as Inferno, Controlled Burn and The Matchbox. "Her entire brand is built around that name and lends itself to endless ways to extend the name," Watkins says. "Her prior name didn't lend itself to any theme or wordplay."

Is the name visually appealing?
You also want to consider how the name looks in a logo, ad or a billboard, Manning says. He points to Gogo, the inflight Internet service provider, as a good name for design purposes. "It's the balance of the letters, all rounded and friendly, versus a word with hard, angular letters like Ks and Ts and Rs," Manning says. Other visually appealing names include Volvo because it has no low-hanging letters and Xerox for the symmetry of beginning and ending with the same letter.

Have I conducted a proper trademark search?
A great name is worthless if someone else already has laid claim to it. Start with some free resources like Trademarkia.com or USPTO.gov to do a cursory search to see if the name is already in use. Then, hire a trademark attorney to do a more thorough screening, and if the name isn't taken, to register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "Get it right the first time," Watkins says. "A third of our business comes from companies who are being threatened with trademark infringement."

[1.09]

An 18-slide Venture Plan Presentation

Slide 1: "Billboard"
Slide 2: Core Team ... who, what
Slide 3: Problem / Customer / Opportunity ... scale and scope of problem, SOM/SAM/TAM
Slide 4: Solution ... brochure
Slide 5: Value Proposition ... Customer NWD Profile, Benefits, FFFF
Slide 6: "Underlying Magic"... differentiation, competitive advantages, core competencies
Slide 7: Industry and Environment ... Who, What, SWOT
Slide 8: Competitive Analysis ... Who, What, SWOT
Slide 9: Business Model ... BM canvas
Slide 10: Go-to-Market Plan ... Strategies
Slide 11: Sales Plan ... Objectives
Slide 12: Operations ... Production, distribution, delivery, margin objectives
Slide 13: Growth Strategies ... Scale and Scope
Slide 14: Timeline ... What, when, where
Slide 15: Financial Objectives and Key Metrics ...
Slide 16: Use of Funds ...
Slide 17: Funding Proposal ... Equity, debt, grants, gifts
Slide 18: "Billboard"


Slides 19 to 100+ will have all the gory details!! Lists of 100: customers, prospective customers, target markets, competitors, prospective collaborators, suppliers, prospective investors, ...

These 18 slides also form the foundation for a formal written business plan and an executive summary.

How to Start a New Venture

Go on a DXpedition ...

The Desire Phase ...
Determine why you (and your teammates) want to start a new venture

The Discover Phase ...
Form initial core entrepreneurial team
Identify problems or opportunities

The Define Phase ...
Screen problems or opportunities
Define the value proposition

The Design Phase ...
Generate potential solutions
Create a business venture hypothesis
Design a business venture plan

The Deploy Phase ...
Acquire needed resources
Launch the venture

The Develop Phase ...
Test, validate, and refine the venture hypothesis
Develop and iterate the venture based on real customer experiences

Highlights of an Effective Venture Plan

  1. Start with a clear, concise executive summary of your venture. Think of it like an elevator pitch. In no more than two pages, billboard all the important stuff. At the top, communicate your value proposition: what your venture does, how it will make money, and why customers will want to pay for your product or service. If you are sending your plan to investors, include the amount of money you need and how you plan to use it. You have to know the whole picture before you can boil things down, so tackle the summary after finishing the rest of your plan.
  2. Next, establish the market opportunity. Answer questions like: How large is your target market? How fast is it growing? Where are the opportunities and threats, and how will you deal with them? Again, highlight your value proposition. Most of this market information can be found through industry associations, chambers of commerce, census data or even from other business owners. (Be sure to source all of your information in case you are asked to back up your claims or need to update your business plan.)
  3. While you may have convinced yourself that your product or service is unique, don't fall into that trap. Instead, get real and size up the competition: Who are they? What do they sell? How much market share do they have? Why will customers choose your product or service instead of theirs? What are the barriers to entry? Remember to include indirect competitors--those with similar capabilities that currently cater to a different market but could choose to challenge you down the road.
  4. Now that you've established your idea, start addressing the execution ... specifically, your team. Include profiles of each of your business's founders, partners or officers and what kinds of skills, qualifications and accomplishments they bring to the table. (Include resumes in an appendix.)
  5. If potential investors have read this far, it's time to give them the nuts and bolts of your business model. This includes a detailed description of all revenue streams (product sales, advertising, services, licensing) and the company's cost structure (salaries, rent, inventory, maintenance). Be sure to list all assumptions and provide a justification for them. Also, include names of key suppliers or distribution partners.
  6. After all of that, one big question still remains: Exactly how much money will your venture earn? More important, when will the cash come in the door? That's why you need a section containing past financial performance (if your company is a going concern) and financial projections.
  7. Three-year forward-looking profit-and-loss, balance sheet and cash-flow statements are a must ... as is a break-even analysis that shows how much revenue you need to cover your initial investment.
  8. For early stage companies with only so much in the bank, the cash-flow statement comparing quarterly receivables to payables is most critical. "Everyone misunderstands cash flow," says Tim Berry, president of business-plan software company Palo Alto Software. "People think that if they plan for [accounting] profits, they'll have cash flow. But many companies that go under are profitable when they die, because profits aren't cash."
  9. After you've buffed your plan to a shine, don't file it away to gather dust. "A business plan is the beginning of a process," says Berry. "Planning is like steering, and steering means constantly correcting errors. The plan itself holds just a piece of the value; it's the going back and seeing where you were wrong and why that matters."
[Thank you, Mary Crane]

[2.17]

How to Write an Executive Summary

The purpose of the executive summary of the business plan is to provide your readers with an overview of the business plan. Think of it as an introduction to your business. Therefore, your business plan's executive summary will include summaries of ...
  1. a description of your company, including your product and/or service solutions
  2. your management
  3. the market and your customers including basic quantitative information
  4. marketing and sales strategies
  5. your primary competition
  6. your competitive advantage
  7. your operational strategies
  8. financial projections and plans
  9. contact information
The executive summary will end with a summary statement, a "last kick at the can" sentence or two designed to persuade the readers of your business plan that your business is a winner.

To write the executive summary of the business plan, start by following the list above and writing one to three sentences about each topic. (No more!)

If you have trouble crafting these summary sentences from scratch, review your business plan to get you going. In fact, one approach to writing the executive summary of the business plan is to take a summary sentence or two from each of the business plan sections you've already written. (If you compare the list above to the sections outlined in the Business Plan Outline, you'll see that this could work very well.)

Then finish your business plan's executive summary with a clinching closing sentence or two that answers the reader's question "Why is this a winning business?"

Tips for Writing the Business Plan's Executive Summary
  1. Focus on providing a summary. The business plan itself will provide the details and whether bank managers or investors, the readers of your business plan don't want to have their time wasted.
  2. Keep your language strong and positive. Don't weaken the executive summary of your business plan with weak language. Instead of writing, "Dogstar Industries might be in an excellent position to win government contracts", write "Dogstar Industries will be in an excellent position..."
  3. The executive summary should be no more than two pages long ... one page is probably better. Resist the tempation to pad your business plan's executive summary with details (or pleas). The job of the executive summary is to present the facts and entice your reader to read the rest of the business plan, not tell him everything.
  4. Polish your executive summary. Read it aloud. Does it flow or does it sound choppy? Is it clear and succinct? Once it sounds good to you, have someone else who knows nothing about your business read it and make suggestions for improvement.
  5. Tailor the executive summary of your business plan to your audience. If the purpose of your business plan is to entice investors, for instance, your executive summary should focus on the opportunity your business provides investors and why the opportunity is special.
  6. Put yourself in your readers' place... and read your executive summary again. Does this executive summary generate interest or excitement in the reader? If not, why?
Remember, the executive summary of the business plan will be the first thing the readers of the business plan read. If your executive summary is poorly written, it will also be the last, as they will set the rest of your business plan aside unread!

[Thank you, Susan Ward]

Tips for Picking the Right Opportunity

  1. You and your team are passionate and persistent ...
  2. Your team has or can learn the skills needed ...
  3. Your team can collaborate and cooperate ...
  4. The problem is clear ...
  5. The customers are readily identified ...
  6. The market is significant ...
  7. You have a feasible solution ...
  8. The competition is identifiable ...
  9. Your solution has better and sustainable benefits ...
  10. Your solution can generate a sustainable profit ...
  11. Your venture is timely, important, legal ...
  12. Your venture can build barriers to entry ...
  13. Your concept is scalable ...
  14. You'll invest less time, money, and effort in the venture than it will be worth in a couple of years ...
  15. If the opportunity turns out to be less than favorable, you can exit with minor losses ...
  16. Risks can be mitigated ...
  17. The upside potential is significant and timely ...
  18. Your team has a clear plan for success ...
  19. Your team can find the resources needed ...
  20. You and your team are committed to success ...
  21. The opportunity has a potential for long-term success ...

Google Design Principles

  1. Focus on people - their lives, their work, their dreams.
  2. Every millisecond counts.
  3. Simplicity is powerful.
  4. Engage beginners and attract experts.
  5. Dare to innovate.
  6. Design for the world.
  7. Plan for today's and tomorrow's business.
  8. Delight the eye without distracting the mind.
  9. Be worthy of people's trust.
  10. Add a human touch.
[Attribution: Sue Factor, User Experience Group, Google]

Waterfall Veture Planning

  1. Vision ... "We will change the way someone does something!" [Be specific, 100 words or less: Who is someone? What is the something? Why are you going to change the way it is being done now? How?]
  2. Mission ... "We will earn a profit solving customer problems better than the competition!" [Be specific, 100 words or less: Who are the target customers? What are their problems? How will you solve them? What is the competition? How are you better? What will you do to earn the business? How will you make a profit? How much?]
  3. Goals ... "In five years, we will ..." [What are your three most important goals?]
  4. Objectives ... "To reach our goals, we must accomplish these objectives ..." [What are the three most important objectives for each goal that must be accomplished in the next six months?]
  5. Strategies ... "To accomplish our objectives, we will do this better than our competition ..." [What methods will you use to reach your objectives?]
  6. Tactics ... "To implement our strategies, we will do these things ..." [What three procedures will you use to carry out your strategies?]
  7. Tasks ... "To execute our tactics, we will ... " [What three things must be done to realize your tactics?]
  8. Assignments ... "Here's who is going to do what and when ... " [Who are the best people for each task?]
[6.17]

Critical Path

Ultimately, the function of a business venture is to satisify customer needs, wants, and desires by transforming their problems into solutions (and capturing a bit of profit reward along the way).

Catergories of Innovation

Innovation has a revolutionary reputation, but an evolutionary reality!  

An innovation is (simply) Something New and Better ...
  • Something: a product, service, process, methodology, or market positioning. 
  • New: didn't exist before in this market space.
  • Better: desirable benefits, a lower price, or both ... compared to the available alternatives.
That's not to imply that the innovation process is simple, by no means!  It can be quite complex, even if the final result doesn't necessarily reflect such.

Some types of innovation are pretty simple, pretty straight-forward. A new hot dog stand on a corner can be an example of "positioning" innovation ... simple, yet it does provide something new and better.

Other innovations are indeed quite complex and required high levels of intellect, resources, skills, education, and expertise.

Here are some general categories of innovation:

1. Incremental … basic design concepts are reinforced, linkages between modules are unchanged
2. Component or modular … basic design concepts are overturned, linkages between modules are unchanged
3. Architectural … linkages between modules are changed, basic design concepts are reinforced
4. Radical … basic design concepts are overturned, linkages between modules are changed
5. Disruptive ... technological discontinuity
6. Application ... technology application creates new market ... killer application
7. Product ... improved performance, dominant design
8. Process ... more efficient and/or effective processes
9. Positioning ... establishing a venture in a new space
10. Experiential ... improved customer experience
11. Marketing ... improved marketing relationships
12. Business model ... reframe the value proposition or value chain
13. Structural ... responds to structural changes in the industry
14. Service … give the same products but with much better service
15. Paradigm ... good luck! If we want a paradigm shift, we'll need a solid combination of several simpler innovations!