The process for commercialization of an innovation/invention is not linear but there is a definite order within the process with occasional cross over and revisits. There are also some GO – NO GO instances where decisions need to be made. For instance the CRI prefers to model the commercialization process based on 4 themes; Innovation & Ideas, Technical Feasibility, Market Feasibility and Financial Viability. So far I have stayed within the theme of Innovation & Ideas (So You Have a Great Idea) and briefly discussed Technical Feasibility.
Now it’s time to visit Market Feasibility.
Who exactly is going to buy your innovation/invention? Not just who would use it – that could be misleading.
There are no short cuts here and lots of guessing but the internet makes this a whole lot easier than it was before. A good look at your competitors may help you with this. Be aware that your competition is anything that people will spend that same dollar on. The first automobile’s competition was not another vehicle but a horse or anything else that people used to get from point A to point B.
Even if your goal is to sell your idea to someone else to manufacture and market you still need to understand who is going to buy your innovation/invention. How can you convince someone to buy your idea if you have no idea who will buy it from them?
In So You Have a Great Idea I used a picture hanging tool as an example. Let’s use that same tool to illustrate this. Anyone that wants to hang a picture is our potential customer. But our picture hanging tool comes with a self-leveling mechanism that makes the cost a bit much for only hanging one picture. At this point we need to identify customers that would be willing to pay more than the usual cost of a conventional picture hanging tool (hammer & nails). This could be an art gallery. Then we need to ask the question are there enough of these customers to justify going ahead with our idea? And just as important what is so good about our tool that they would be willing to give up what they currently use to buy ours?
These are all questions that can be researched and enough information gathered to know if it is still worth pursuing and all before any significant time or money is spent. The key here is to be honest and realistic. This is not an excuse to get bogged down in the research but meant to be one of those checks to see if it is indeed worth the effort. According to Entrepreneur.com in their article Get Your Product to Market in Six Steps ‘Finding out how to get your product to market is often more relevant to your success than the features and benefits of your invention.’
The CRI and our partners have a wealth of experience to draw on and once you have done the basic work of clarifying your idea and the marketplace for that idea it’s a great idea to give us a call or send us an email.
We can help with everything we have talked about here as well as the next steps.