For most of us when we come up with a great idea for an innovation or invention the objective is to eventually make money from it. But before we invest any money of our own (or someone else’s) it is wise to invest a bit of time to first analyze the invention along the entire commercialization process. To have commercial value the product must solve a real problem. Not only that, it needs to somehow solve the problem better, cheaper, faster than current solutions. Keep in mind that current solutions have market share already backed by advertising budgets and even customer loyalty. Your solution even if it is better, cheaper, and faster needs to provide customers with a compelling reason for them to change otherwise it will be easier for them not to.
Once you are confident it passes that test then you need to determine if your idea is physically possible. Interesting to note that a few patents have been abandoned because the inventor was unable to get a prototype to work. They might have had a great idea that solved a real problem but the invention/innovation wasn’t technically feasible in the first place.
Next step, providing the idea solves a real problem and it’s doable, is to figure out exactly who will buy it. Not just who would use it, although that needs to be considered too. Next question: are there enough of these customers to justify going ahead with the idea? This is the Market Feasibility.
Financial viability refers to whether there is sufficient potential to earn a profit from the innovation or invention to warrant an investment. First what are all those customers willing to pay for your solution? The patent lawyer we refer people to tells a great story about an invention that the inventor managed to get Canadian Tire to purchase and resell. While customers loved the idea it turned out that they would gladly have paid $100 for it but the $300 price tag was just too much so no one bought it. A combination of what will the invention cost, what will people pay for it, and is there enough of a market to justify all the investment required to set things up is Financial Viability.
All this work needs to be done upfront – before you invest money or even any significant time. What you discover here may strongly suggest you get another idea or it may indicate you need to delve deeper into each area and actually invest some time and money pursuing your idea.