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Showing posts with label Roadmap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roadmap. Show all posts

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 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]

How Much Money Do We Need?

Q: How much money do we really need to get this new venture concept up and running?

A: It is usually not a fixed dollar amount ... most often, it's a range of desired funding versus the time for the venture to become stable (that is, consistently break-even). Too little money and the venture will not survive, too much money and some will likely be wasted.

The optimal amount is a trade-off with the length of time it will take for the venture to become stable (that is, consistently break-even week after week). The management team needs to know what results they can deliver if the investors do pony up the requested level of funding ... and what could happen with less money raised, or more money raised. The results are usually, but not always, a change in the time to become a stable company.

There are a variety of tools, spreadsheets, and more to assist in making financial projections and setting objectives. Here's a good one from SCORE: https://www.score.org/resource/financial-projections-template

A "lean" startup is a special case ... the venture is basically trying to launch and operate below the minimum level of funding need to become stable. Think of it as an experiment. There are things to be learned in a lean venture, and often the most important lesson is that the venture just isn't going to make it without a critical mass of resources. Another lesson is that money isn't the only answer. Too much money can actually be a bad thing, but usually not as bad as too little!

In general, the more money raised for a new venture, the faster that venture can become stable up to a point. Investors will often ask the range of funding the venture is seeking. What's the minimum level of funding to get it going and sustainable, and how long will it take? What's the minimum time to become stable, and how much funding will it take? And finally,  ... what does the venture team believe is the optimal trade-off between time and money?


A little humor: I once made a presentation to a group of "friendly" investors. Call them "friendly" because they already knew us (the management team). The investors had put a good deal of money into our venture, and were (currently) satisfied with the results. Now, we were seeking to raise new money for a spin-off.

In my presentation, I said we needed to raise $x million and it would take us about y months to get the new venture stable (consistently break-even) and sustainable. One of the investors asked what could happen if they put in half the money we were seeking. I said the venture could still probably make it but it would take so many months longer to stabilize, but that level of funding was still above the failure threshold.

The same investor then asked what could happen if we were able to raise three times the money we were seeking. The "wise guy" in me came to the surface. I said that level of funding was way above the amount needed to make it to the shortest possible time to stability, and that the management team would take the excess funds and all buy Porsches because the venture didn't need the money!  I point out again that these were "friendly" investors and I knew they had a sense of humor! They didn't throw me out the door. Rather, they had a good laugh and said those were exactly the "right" answers ... they were just testing the management team to make sure we knew where the end-caps really were!

--Jim

[1.07]



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!