You have an innovative idea and now you want to develop it in a startup into a market-ready product. Or maybe you’ve been an entrepreneur for a while and want to introduce a new product or innovate an existing one. You can also innovate with your business processes and techniques. The possibilities are endless. But in all cases, you need to think carefully about how you approach the innovation process.
Innovating is not easy, especially for startups. It is a road full of bumps and hurdles and the outcome is uncertain. Good preparation is important, but don’t be afraid to experiment either! Above all, innovating is a learning process. A ready-made innovation process or roadmap is unfortunately not available. But fortunately there are plenty of tips, tools and innovation models that can help you. In this blog we will explain a few of them.
The innovation process: from initial idea to final product
An innovation often starts with identifying a particular problem for which you want to develop a solution. To develop this first, and often still vague, idea into a product, service or solution you go through an innovation process. What your innovation process looks like exactly will depend on the type of innovation. For a product in the IT industry you need different things than in the chemical industry. But the phases you go through will be largely the same.
Innovation process steps
These main steps or phases in the innovation process broadly look like the following:
Preparation: in this phase you develop a vision for your innovation, set goals and form a team.
Start analysis: then you map out what your company and your market look like, and what the starting and desired end situation is.
Ideas: in this phase you will generate as many creative ideas as possible, from which you will then make a selection.
Validation: to test your ideas you will develop a prototype of your product and then test and validate it in the market. On this basis you will develop your final product with which you will enter the market.
This is certainly not a linear process! You will find that you regularly have to take a step back before you can move forward again. So be aware that it is an iterative process and not a direct route to success. Below we explain these steps in more detail.
Preparation innovation process: vision, goals and team
Innovation requires good preparation. When you go on vacation you also think about where you want to go, what you want to do and what you need for the trip. It is important to know what problem you want to solve with your innovation, what goals you want to achieve and what your vision is. In practice, many entrepreneurs are unable to give a good answer to the question of what the goal of the innovation is and when the innovation is successful. So think about this carefully.
To develop a vision, the 5 Bold Steps Vision Canvas can help you.
You can’t innovate alone. It is therefore important that you have a good team, and good cooperation partners. Look for the best people you need and form a team! Think of people in your own organization but also customers, stakeholders or role models.
Start analyzing your business and the market
Now that you have an energetic team and a clear concrete vision, it is important to understand the market, your business model, your customers and your company or business. Ask yourself the following questions:
Market: What trends are there in the market and what are the opportunities and threats?
Own company: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your company?
Business model: What business model do you have in mind or is operational?
Customer journey: What does the customer want and what makes him happy?
A thorough market and customer research is extremely important. Because only then will you know if your ideal customer really needs your innovation. This kind of analysis will make your journey easier, clearer and ultimately more successful.
For conducting such analyses, the Business Model Canvas can be a great model to use.