Category Product Innovation

Designing for Competitive Advantage

May 28, 2007 0 comments

The product /service continuum

Successful designers must combine customer requirements within their design concept and identify the means of achieving production of the goods or service packages. Every organization will provide some form of service to its customers, therefore it is essential that the total service package be designed to take account of all the customers' requirements to ensure that there are no barriers to accessing or enjoying the benefits available through the total service package. The continuum created by the extremes of 'Pure Goods' and 'Pure Service' often leads to confusion as the characteristics of services are often more difficult to specify than the characteristics of goods. The latter can be defined by physical properties, dimensions, textures, colors, weight, form and function etc, also by durability and performance tests to predict reliability. Services on the other hand are defined in terms of expectations of the provision of a range of benefit packages to customers.

when the service available, insert Picture

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Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Developing an Understanding of Customer Needs and Wants

May 28, 2007 0 comments

Design success depends entirely on how well the design meets the customer's requirements. This means that it is necessary to identify, and where possible, to establish and agree requirements with customers prior to the design process. For example we need to know: what design features are required; why they are wanted; what benefits are needed; what benefits are expected; which benefits are critical to the success of the product; what the performance criteria are; how performance will be measured; what values they are prepared to exchange; where they want the benefits; when they want the benefits; how often they will want them (Timmons et al 1987). There is a complexity of influences that need to be research to access both qualitative and quantitative data. The environmental influences may be grouped into social; political; economic; legal; technological factors. These may be further influenced by factors such as: culture; historical group norms, beliefs and values, behavior patterns, life styles, religion, politics etc.: sociological factors; social class structure, family and peer group pressures, fashion, stage in life: economic factors; level of disposable income, cost in relation to competing goods or services, perceived value etc. All of these will contribute to the individual’s psychological profile governing their view of how well new goods or service packages can satisfy their needs (Maslow 1954: Chisnall, 1994)

 

Shostack’s Molecular Model

In Adrian Palmer’s book on the ‘Principles of Services Marketing’ 1994 there is an adaptation of Shostack’s Molecular Model to demonstrate how an analysis of the tangible elements and intangible elements of a service experience can help focus on critical elements.

below will be a product development flowchart

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Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Fundamentals of Marketing

May 31, 2007 0 comments

Concept of Marketing

The concept of marketing has been variously defined over the years; here are some explanations from leading practitioners and theorists in the field.

“Marketing is the management process for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”

Chartered Institute of Marketing

“If you are obsessed with attaining happiness you will never attain it. But if you focus on service to others, happiness will come immediately. It is the same with industry: if you are obsessed with looking for profits, you will never find them. But if you focus on satisfying the customer, you will gain everything.”

(Jose Lopez VW top executive cited by Jobber 1995)

Peter Drucker stated:

“Because the purpose of business is to create and keep customers, it has only two central functions – marketing and innovation. The basic function of marketing is to attract and retain customers at a profit.”

He went on to explain that the role of marketing is to identify customers requirements so well that when products and services are designed to meet these requirements and presented to the customers they automatically recognise and accept what is being offered. (Drucker 1973)

 

David Jobber stated that a modern marketing concept can be expressed as:

“The achievement of corporate goals through meeting and exceeding customer needs better than the competition.” (Jobber 1995)

Three conditions should be met:

  1. Customer orientation – Corporate activities are focused upon providing customer satisfaction.
  2. Integrated effort – all staff accept the responsibility for creating customer satisfaction.
  3. Goal achievement – The belief that corporate goals can be achieved through customer satisfaction.

Philip Kotler defines marketing as:

“A social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others.” This leads into the debate about needs, wants and demand, Where needs stem from a state of felt deprivation affected by the complexity of physical, social and individual motivational factors. Wants on the other hand are shaped by culture and individual personality and can be influenced by variety of choice. Demand is affected by the ability to exchange resources to obtain what is on offer i.e. buying power.

The debate moves on into the concepts of products and services where Kotler defines a product as:

“Anything that can be offered to market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes physical objects, services, persons, places, organizations and ideas.”

Services are defined as:

“Any activity or benefit that one party can offer to another which is essentially intangible and does not result in ownership of anything.”

Marketing Environment

In his book on Competitive Advantage (1985) Porter discusses the need for people to understand the competitive environment that affects every firm. The competitive forces of other firms causes turbulence within the market, however the other forces at play include; Supplier Power, Buyer Power, Threat of New Entrants, and the availability of Substitutes.

It could be argued that competitive offerings present the biggest threat and therefore there are needs to have effective marketing intelligence gathering and analysis systems.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix described by Kotler (1999) is

“The set of controllable tactical marketing tools – product, price, place and promotion – that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target market.” It is useful, however to consider three more factors in this concept – physical evidence, process and people – as these will have a bearing on customer’s expectations and perceptions. For a discussion on expectation and perception theory see the work of Berry, Parasuraman and Zeithaml. They have developed a methodology for assessing customer’s responses to service offerings.

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Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation Marketing

Perceptions of Risk

May 31, 2007 0 comments

The hazards, associated with product design and development, are many and complex. Some entrepreneurs tend to see risk as just another hurdle that must be coped with, extreme tendencies view risk as the gambling stake to be borne, while others see only researched probabilities to aid decision making. The measurement of risk before the event is the source of much debate, mainly because the majority of risks are perceived and not necessarily actual. When assessing risks, designers should accept this in mind to avoid over dependence on numerically based data; as there is a chance of promoting or validating misconceptions.

Sorting processes need to be employed to develop perspective and avoid over dependence on microscopic analysis. In short, there is a need to first be effective before developing efficiency, in that way the right direction can be discovered before committing valuable resources.

Missed and misconstrued perceptions of the consequences of decisions are of themselves a major, arguably the greatest, source of risk in decision making and any responsible decision maker will make every effort to obtain a complete and accurate perception of the risks faced before attempting to undertake an analysis and assessment'. (Ansell, 1992)

Thus, the purpose of risk analysis is the identification of all possible outcomes of decisions, whilst the estimation of probabilities and the size of the outcomes is the subject of risk assessment.

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Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Product Innovation

May 31, 2007 0 comments

Business Strategy and Innovation

Outline

Markets, technologies and competitors; creating additional customer value; forms of competitive advantage

Generating and harnessing creativity; frameworks for innovation

Product Innovation Process

Designing for market needs; the product concept; the use of the Quality Function Deployment Tool; creating the product specification

Invention creation

Modelling the product development process; product design, manufacturing and market development

Implementing the product development process; teamwork and project management; learning and re-invention.

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Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Gaining and Maintaining Competitive Advantage

May 31, 2007 0 comments

Key points

The seminal work of Michael Porter entitled “Gaining and Maintaining Competitive Advantage”

provides a model to help us understand the competitive environment affecting all firms.

 

picture will be added later

Sources of Innovation

According to Peter Drucker (1985) the majority of innovations are the result of concerted effort. There are of course exceptions to the rule that result from a flash of genius or serendipity but most innovations within entities originate from four areas:

  • Unexpected occurrences
  • Incongruities
  • Process needs
  • Industry and market changes

Unexpected occurrences

Examples were drawn from:

IBM designed accounting machines for banks, but banks didn’t buy them. Public libraries had money and did buy IBM’s machines.

The computer industry developed when businesses recognized that computers could be used for more than scientific purposes and could be adapted to payroll processing. Univac failed to recognize the opportunity but IBM did and adapted designed that led them into becoming industry leaders.

Ford Motors failure with the Edsel almost sunk the firm as the most highly researched model of its day did not meet customers requirements. Ford had to find a replacement quickly and imposed short deadlines on its design and manufacturing team. The result was the famous Mustang and Thunderbird models that were designed to meet the needs of the target customers life-styles.

 

Incongruities

Examples were drawn from:

Alcon Industries exploited an incongruity of medical technology used to treat eye cataracts. By developing a preservative for an enzyme that could dissolve the ligament that caused the problem Alcon were able to provide a new compound that could be stored. The resultant product grew in popularity and created a worldwide monopoly.

The development of ‘Roll-on’ ‘Roll-off’ ships and container vessels came about when ship builders realised that the major cost in shipping were incurred when ships were in port loading and unloading. This changed the thinking of designers who for the past 50 years had attempted to make bigger and more fuel efficient vessels to cut shipping costs. The shift in viewpoint and not technology was responsible for improving the economics of the shipping industry.

Process needs

Example was drawn from:

Federal Express and the core concept of the business being explained a switching process. Items for distribution are collected and delivered to a central sorting center and switched to carriers for redistribution. The speed of processing is critical as is the central switching operation.

Industry and market changes

Examples were drawn from:

The growth in direct services such as banking and insurance services and the growth of e-businesses.

External Sources

Sources of opportunity from outside entities can be found through:

  • Demographic changes
  • Changes in perception
  • New knowledge

Demographic changes

Changes in the population offer opportunities. For example the Americans have recognized the growth in the wealthy aged population who need and want labor saving equipment to suit their life-styles and failing health.

Changes in perception

Global improvements in the communications and media industries are constantly enlightening people and therefore changing their perceptions and expectations. Products that were acceptable 10 or 20 years ago are no longer acceptable for a whole range of reasons that are affected by personal attitudes through changing social acceptability.

New knowledge

New knowledge emerges all the time bringing with it both opportunities and threats.

External environmental factors

The external factors affecting all businesses must be analyzed to identify opportunities and threats. These factors are often known as PEST or SPELT factors the latter means.

Social, political, economic, legal, and technological factors.

When carrying out a SWOT analysis it is important to recognize that the Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to the business and therefore with the control of the business. While on the other hand Opportunities and Threats come from the environment and are therefore out with the control of the business. Innovation can emanate from an understanding of both.

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Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Principles of Creativity

May 31, 2007 0 comments

Importance of creativity, psychology of creativity, serendipity.

The nature of incubation and illumination.

Bisocation and lateral thinking, idea generation and selection.

Innovative companies - recognising and exploiting opportunities

Suggested Readings

Baxter. M. 1995 ‘Product Design’, Chapman & Hall, London Chapter 4, pages 61 - 79

James Collins & Jerry Porras "Built to Last" Chapter 3

find new ways of making improvisations - go somewhere you wouldn’t otherwise

thinking about game-playing

Try to watch your friends and family members when they play quite elaborate games during holiday seasons - you will see how normally retiring people become enormously extrovert and funny.

The great thing about games is that they in some sense free you from being yourself: you are “allowed” forms of behavior that otherwise would be gratuitous, embarrassing or completely irrational.

You will find out how people are active in the improvisations if you apply the same idea for business

some motivational characteristics of a creative person:

 

  • a curious or inquiring mind;
  • an intellectual persistence;
  • a need for recognition for achievement;
  • a need for variety;
  • a need for autonomy;
  • a preference for complex order;
  • a tolerance of ambiguity;
  • a need for mastery of a problem;
  • an insatiability for intellectual ordering.

A creative person also needs to be able to look at a situation from different angles,

  • questioning assumptions,
  • imagining new situations,
  • changing relationships
  • or adding new elements into the situation (McWhinney, 1993; McFadzean, in press; McFadzean et al., in press).

There have been a number of lessons learnt by exploring other people’s creativity. These are:

  • There must be a desire to win or to reach a goal successfully.
  • There must be motivation, dedication and commitment to the work being studied.
  • The creative person tends to be self-confident, a risk taker or, at least, is prepared to fail.
  • The creative person has the ability to see relationships or make connections between different elements or situations.
  • There must be an ability to learn from mistakes or to get something positive from a failed project.
  • The creative person must be able to shift his or her paradigm of a given situation and view it from different angles.
  • The creative person must have the ability to conceptualise the problem or opportunity from a more novel perspective.
  • The creative person tends to have a single-minded vision of where he or she wants to go.
  • He or she must have a working style that involves both hard work and periods of relaxation so that incubation can occur.
  • Creativity can take place while working alone as well as working in groups.

Creativity is an important aspect of organisational life and it should be nurtured and allowed to grow.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Encourage Visioning

May 31, 2007 0 comments

Ensure participative safety

Employees can only be encouraged to think creatively if they are not afraid of criticism or punishment.

For example

If a project fails and the champion is in fear of losing his job then he will never take the risk of thinking creatively again.

Challenge Assumptions

Employees should be encouraged to challenge their assumptions and perceptions regarding procedures, products, services and processes

 

(Jones and McFadzean, 1997; McFadzean, 1996a).

In particular, they should examine procedures that

“have always been done that way”.

Encourage Visioning

Managers should encourage “visioning”

Creative thinkers look into the future and visualise where they would like to be in five or ten years time.

This can be applied to the company as a whole or to a department or section or to products, services, procedures and processes.

Climate of Excellence

Establish a climate of excellence

Creative ideas need to be implemented effectively in order to succeed.

Managers should ensure that employees are committed to achieving a first-rate performance.

This can be undertaken by developing achievable objectives (both as an organisation and as individuals) and by producing a strategy for fulfilling them.

Question Corporate Viewpoint

Employ people who do not seem to fit in (Jones and McFadzean, 1997). By upsetting the status quo, it encourages people to look at situations from different perspectives instead of a “corporate viewpoint”.

This may not necessarily be comfortable for management but it can help the company produce some excellent innovative ideas.

Facilitate Pet Projects

Allow people to spend time on their pet projects so they can be researched and developed (McFadzean, 1996b).

For example, the Post-It Note was developed by 3M because the company had allowed its inventor - Arthur Fry - to spend time working on the concept. 3M allows 15 percent of time to be spent on researching pet projects (Nayak and Ketteringham, 1991).

Senior Management Support

There must be senior management support for creativity and innovation (Jones and McFadzean, 1997).

Often, managers will articulate their support but will not enact it.

They must provide sufficient resources and training, encouragement for developing new ideas, time to work on pet projects and/or financial support.

Atmosphere of Enjoyment and Fun

Encourage an atmosphere of enjoyment and fun. Creative thought can be greatly enhanced if participants are enjoying themselves.

An appropriate atmosphere may be created by reducing distractions and enhancing relaxation

Creative Problem Solving Teams

Develop creative problem solving teams that can work together and develop trust for one another

Problem solving teams will be more effective if the participants have the same goals and are supported by a trained facilitator (Briggs and Nunamaker, 1996; Nelson and McFadzean, in press).

Group members who share goal congruence will work towards their objectives together rather than working with hidden agendas and conflicting interests, which will ultimately reduce the efficiency of the group.

Competent Facilitator

Groups will work more effectively together if supported by a competent facilitator.

The facilitator helps the group to reach its objectives and can help the group to look at the situation from different perspectives by using a variety of creative problem solving techniques (McFadzean and Nelson, 1998).

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Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

The lack of new ideas is the main constraint on innovation

May 31, 2007 0 comments

"The lack of new ideas is worrying. Unless companies can come up with new ideas they won't have any innovations to exploit in the future. Both companies and the Government need to do more to create the conditions in which creativity can flourish. It is timely that a new round of the Government's Foresight program has just got underway."

The other key constraints on innovation are problems finding finance and the amount of competition. The good news is that the cost of finance is less of a problem. For manufacturers international competition is becoming increasingly important, and although it is less of a problem for non-manufacturers they too are facing mounting competition from North America and the Asia Pacific.

Tips for successful business innovation in processes and products

  1. Create goal vision. Have business goals in your company and communicate them. Know how you want to position your company.
  2. Market savvy. Foresight is important - you need to know your marketplace and have an intimate understanding of your customer's needs today and tomorrow.
  3. Encourage creativity. Companies rely on employees for their future growth. Give employees time and support to exercise their own initiative - give some direction but encourage creative thinking. At technical employees have the blessing of the company to devote 15% of their time on projects of their own choosing.
  4. Empower employees. Provide support for developing employee's ideas, give a suitable degree of project ownership and then reward their successes.
  5. Encourage risk taking and understand failures. Innovation brings risks - as picking winners is never easy! The key is to spot the losers early because this reduces the financial and organizational risk. Turn a failure on its head to see if it might work in another setting.
  6. Support Implementation. Provide the resources (time, money, materials) to bring suitable ideas to fruition.
  7. Know how to fund a new idea. Research where to find money to fund new ideas and then secure it when needed. Let researchers apply for special grants, which provide the finance and resource for projects that cannot be supported through normal budgets.
  8. Protect your ideas. Evidence suggests that firms with an understanding of intellectual property rights have a better chance of maintaining a competitive edge and can maximize the returns of their innovation.
  9. Sometimes sharing is better. Recognize that not all ideas are within your scope alone. Finding the right partner externally can often bring about the best result.
  10. Be ready for change. When the right idea comes along the rewards can be substantial but you need to recognize that you may need to change the nature and shape of your business. Several times in its history whole new areas have opened up through innovation.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Risk Assessment

May 31, 2007 0 comments

The Concept of Risk

The hazards associated with product design and development are many and complex. Interviews conducted with entrepreneurs, product design teams, quality managers, general managers, enterprise agency staff and fund managers, revealed a broad interpretation of the word risk. For example entrepreneurs tend to see risk as just another hurdle which they must cope with, at the one extreme there are tendencies to view it as the gambling stake to be borne, while at the other extreme there are only researched probabilities to aid decision making. Attempts to define the word risk examine its origins, Arabic has the word risq while Latin provides the word risicum (Kedar, 1970). Arabic risq signifies 'anything that has been given to you [by God] and from which you draw profit' and has connotations of a fortuitous and favourable outcome. On the other hand the Latin risicum, originally referred to the 'challenge that a barrier reef presents to a sailor' with connotations of dangerous hazards and fortuitous outcomes (Ansell 1992). French use risqué with mainly negative but occasionally positive connotations as for example in 'qui ne risqué rien n'a rien' or 'nothing ventured nothing gained' whilst in common English usage the word risk has very definite negative associations as in 'run the risk of...' or 'at risk' meaning exposed to danger. (Ansell 1992) The Oxford Dictionary (1991) refers to '1. Chance of or of bad consequences, loss, etc., at risk, exposed to danger' and '2. Expose to chance of injury or loss; venture on, accept the chance of ..'

In common usage the meaning of the word risk includes: gamble - to take a chance on something or trust in luck; venture - to invest with exposure to loss or gain; endanger - expose rashly; danger - put in jeopardy, the state of being exposed to injury, pain, or loss. Collectively risk is used to describe the chance of occurrence of any undesirable outcome due to a decision or course of action. Gamblers tend to evaluate risk against reward, whilst to scientists the word risk is used to imply a measurement of the chance of an outcome, the size of the outcome or a combination of both.

The Perception of Risk

The measurement of risk before the event is the source of much debate, mainly because the majority of risks are perceived and not necessarily actual. (Ansell 1992) When assessing risks designers should bear this in mind to avoid over reliance on numerically based data as there is a chance of promoting or validating misconceptions

Often complex formulae based on historical data are employed to project events and assess future risks. As much of risk assessment is subjective there is a real danger to found in placing high levels of reliance on mathematical models which convert subjective data into objective data. Thus providing credibility for spurious or incomplete data. Some ranging processes need to be employed to develop perspective and avoid over reliance on microscopic analysis. In short there is a need to first be effective before developing efficiency, in that way the right direction can be ascertained before committing valuable resources.

'Missed and misconstrued perceptions of the consequences of decisions are of themselves a major, arguably the greatest, source of risk in decision making and any responsible decision maker will make every effort to obtain a complete and accurate perception of the risks faced before attempting to undertake an analysis and assessment.' (Ansell 1992)

The purpose of risk analysis is the identification of all possible outcomes of decisions, whilst the estimation of probabilities and the size of the outcomes is the subject of risk assessment.

Model for Risk Assessment

This model examins risk from a producers viewpoint, the techniques from the first model prove data for consideration here. There is also a need to increase the intensity of investigation to include quality management, quality assurance and control techniques. The 'Feature to Benefit Score Card' provides data which is then assessed in the 'Design Rating Score Card' and Criticality Factors are then identified. These can then be prioritised using 'Pareto's Principle' otherwise known as the 80/20 rule where 80% of the value is normally to be found in 20% of the features of the product. By identifying the essential few features designers can then target effort to maximising satisfaction and risk reduction. The other 80% of features may then be managed to enhance the product and elevate customer satisfaction in an effort to delight the customer. Each Key Success Factor will have a fundamental bearing on implications for excellent production capabilities, attention to these factors will drive operations management towards continuous improvement initiatives and raise the organisations effectiveness, flexibility and efficiency.

The concept of Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) can provide an intensive focus for risk assessment where a high degree of product integrity is required, and where the consequences of failure could be catastrophic such as in defence industries. Aircraft designers and manufacturers as well as the automotive industry find this technique highly effective in risk assessment and reduction. The American Department of Defense recognised the value of the technique and produced a Military Standard MIL-STD-1629 (SHIPS) 1 NOVEMBER 1974 later superseded by MIL-STD-1629A 24 NOVEMBER 1980 entitled 'Procedures for performing a Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis'. Service industries use the technique to identify good practice, often adopting manufacturing quality management techniques modified to suit service organisation requirements.

FMEA when employed at the design stage identifies possible shortcomings of the design of a product, service or process operating system to determine what could fail, where and what effect would be created so that corrective action can be initiated and problems avoided. Brainstorming is employed to identify all possible modes of failure and their related effects on performance. It is a factual analysis of the design which can enable numerical values to be assigned to help overcome subjective opinions. When the results of an FMEA are ranked in order of seriousness we can identify the CRITICAL modes (FMECA) so that action can be taken to reduce failure and avoid risk.

As FMEA aims to avoid failure occurring it should be carried out at the design stage of a product or service. As a communication tool it is useful throughout every level of an organisation to increase awareness of the consequences of operational procedures and is effective in product and service design development. It provides the analysis team with a valuable insight into issues which are normally outwith their normal range of interest, e.g. the effect of operational procedures on their downstream customers, likely consequential damages, sources of customer complaints, etc. and provides a valuable resource for analysing strengths and weaknesses, as well as sources of opportunities and threats for product or service development.

FMECA analysis steps of are:

  1. Assemble a team of 3 - 5 and elect a chairperson.
  2. Clearly state the product, service or process function to be analysed. It is essential that the scope of the analysis is clearly defined to avoid confusion.
  3. Brainstorm to generate a list all possible failure modes of the subject.
  4. Identify and list the effects that each mode of failure would create.
  5. Brainstorm to generate a list all the possible causes of each failure mode.
  6. Agree a numerical value of each failure mode on a scale from 1 to 10.

    P = probability of each failure (1 = low, 10 = high).

    S = seriousness or criticality of the failure (1 = low, 10 = high).

    D = difficulty of detecting the failure before the product or service is used

    by the consumer (1 = easy, 10 = very difficult).

  7. Calculate the product of the ratings, C = P x S x D
  8. This is known as the criticality index or risk priority number (RPN) for each failure mode. It indicates the relative priority of each mode in the failure prevention activities.

  9. List the RPNs according to severity in descending order.
  10. Create an action plan and estimate resource requirements, availability, and probability of completion.
  11. Agree an action plan and briefly state the corrective action required, by whom, where, when, and the expected completion date.

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Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Guide for inventors on promoting ideas

June 1, 2007 0 comments

I do not want creative individuals to become unsuspecting victims of unscrupulous firms and be deprived of their limited resources in return for very little.

It includes the key questions inventors should ask before entering into a contract with a firm, from finding out the details of the total cost and all the steps involved in taking an idea through to production to asking for evidence of the firm's previous success rate.

Do you think you have a great idea for a new product or service? - You are not alone.

Every year thousands of people try to develop their ideas and commercially market them. Some people use the services of invention promotion firms to help evaluate, develop and market their idea. Contracting for the services of an invention promotion firm is no different from making any other major purchase. If you are interested in working with an invention promotion firm, before entering into a contract, the following common sense guidance may help you to avoid costly mistakes:

  • Do your homework - there is a considerable amount of free or low cost advice available, on issues such as patenting and other forms of intellectual property protection, which you may wish to consider first. A few of these sources or routes to information are suggested overleaf.
  • Do not disclose the details of your invention to anyone, including the promoter, without a prior confidentiality agreement - failure to do so could prevent you from obtaining intellectual property rights in the future.
  • Early in your discussion with a promotion firm, find out exactly what the different stages of the service are and the costs associated with each stage, from the "research" about your invention right through to the marketing and licensing.
  • Ask the firm to provide evidence that they have the necessary skills and expertise in the field of your interest to support the activities that they agree to carry out on your behalf.
  • Ask what success rate the firm has achieved in promoting inventions since it started offering its services, and find out whether references can be provided from recent clients.
  • Question claims and assurances that your invention will make money. Commercialisation of inventions is a risky business - no one can guarantee that your invention will be commercially successful.
  • Ask them for their rejection rate - the percentage of all ideas or inventions that the invention firm finds unacceptable at the first assessment stage. Not all ideas could be considered to be commercially viable and it should be expected that firms should have high rejection rates.
  • Find out whether the services advertised, e.g. the patent search and/or market assessment, will be carried out in the countries in which you would like to exploit your invention.
  • If the invention promotion firm claims to know, or have special access to, manufacturers who are likely to be interested in licensing your invention, or if they claim to represent manufacturers on the look-out for new product ideas - ask for proof.
  • If the firm offers the services of a 'patent agent' or 'patent attorney' ask if those people are registered. In the UK it is an offence to use such terms if you are not registered, a qualification which entails examination and practice experience.
  • If the firm offers search services to assess patent prospects make sure that the search is comprehensive and covers all published prior art. A patent must be new and if the idea is published anywhere in the world before filing then this will invalidate rights

If at the end of all this you are happy with the evidence and do wish to enter into a contract, ensure that it contains all the terms you agreed to -verbal and written- before you sign. If possible you should seek legal advice. And remember ... do not disclose the details of your invention to anyone, including the promoter, without a prior confidentiality agreement - failure to do so could prevent you from obtaining intellectual property rights in the future.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Unexpacted Opportunities

June 1, 2007 0 comments

Unexpected occurrences

Incongruities

  • Process needs
  • Industry and Market changes

Drucker suggests that there are three additional sources of opportunity to be found outside a company that affect its social and intellectual environment.

Demographic changes

Changes in perception

New knowledge

Social

changes in social attitudes brought about by cultural drift.

Political

these influences may be micro or macro or a combination

Economic

changes in levels of disposable income with market sectors or target groups.

Legal

changes in the law can open up new opportunities

Technological

ever increasing rates of change introduces new ways of doing things and impending obsolescence

forces people to rethink how they can get in front of the game

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

Product innovation frameworks for gaining competitive advantage

June 1, 2007 0 comments

You need critically analyse, evaluate and discuss development frameworks for product or process innovation that may be used by a business to gain competitive advantage.,/p>

Scenario:

You have joined the product development division. Marketing has suggested that there is an omission in their product range of equipment to meet the client needs. You and your team have to design a suitable product to fill the gap and has asked you to lead the development project.

Instruction:

Produce a project report for introducing the new product. Discuss how you would set about your investigation. Identify and critically analyse a suitable framework for innovation and demonstrate how it may be applied to create an innovative product to meet the needs of your clients.

Discuss how you would lead the team to innovate and investigate the product development process. Illustrate and justify the chosen methodological tools and techniques employed. Define and analyse the benefits that are likely to motivate favorable consumer behavior.

Posted by Lisa
Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation

MarpaSoft LLC builds Native Iphone Apps to make your business prosper

January 3, 2012 0 comments

iPhones, Ipads and Android phones have changed how the world does business and the distribution of industry. The way we are living in a global economy, technology is a center piece of progress and it will keep growing within the next 10 years. There are some 4.6 billion mobile telephones in the world and it has become the cornerstone of economic development. With this said, MarpaSoft LLC is developing mobile applications and software across all sectors of society.

Businesses are turning to mobile technology to reach out to an audience whether it be an enterprise application, PR application or even a mobile game application to attract new and existing customers. According to a case study, a green company, who promoted green choices such as saving power and finding environment friendly products wanted to create an application that would help people make energy efficient choices. The mobile application provided information to users to help them make these choices on a daily basis and approach users with like-minds.

This world will not get more productive because we can watch videos on mobile phones — but if we leverage mobility for business processes and real-time information we can change the world. MarpaSoft LLC sets the standard of what mobile technology is by conceptualizing, designing, developing, and publishing solutions. We gain an understanding of the needs of our customers and ensure that the final product meets their expectations. We are passionate about creating simple, fun, and innovative ways for consumers to use mobile technology in achieving their goals; be it entertainment, business, or wellness.

Posted by lisa
Categories: Product Innovation

Steps Involved in Developing a New Business

November 16, 2013 0 comments

A few days ago I was offered to prepare the presentation on entrepreneurship and why Los Angeles to be a better place of doing business.

While brainstorming how to combine most valuable of my experiences in my speech, I decided to make sure I prepare several presentations, because it may easily happen that most of the people in the room will be looking to start a business now or in near future, or even better already started and need to hear about somebody trying and doing the same.

I think the most important is to have an elevator speech that successfully describes your business. I am struggle with this myself. The successful elevator speech can be developed later into executive summary. This is the first step into developing and delivering impressive investor presentation. Here I want to mention you need to conduct an extensive research - both competitor analysis and their pricing strategy and detailed consumer market research that will help you to prove a business concept.

Every Investor wants to know

Even most investors are daydreaming to hear new Facebook coming, but realistically you need to know right away that people can buy your products or services. Most companies fail because they do not do their homework, they have this perfect idea, and later they may realize that investments are gone, but their clients were not willing to pay the price.

Nowadays there are new ways to fund our projects, and if the project is community related the best step is to do crowd funding; if your product is business to business or business oriented, it is better to bootstrap it with your clients and have a prototype ready before you go to ask for money.

Elevator speech

I want to talk here in this post of the elements of elevator speech and what it takes to create a right approach.

Elements of a Pitch

(adapted from Conor Neill)

  1. Description of the problem you solve
  2. The individuals or groups that will benefit
  3. The specific product or service you deliver
  4. How you differ from competitors and substitutes
  5. How you will make money
  6. What resources you require (money, time, support, expertise)

Enumerate the Steps Involved in Developing a new Business

Here is an interesting article about those steps Summary of Survey of 650 startups

One of the steps to be successful is to constantly learn and apply your knowledge to make more money:

"Founders that learn are more successful: Startups that have helpful mentors, track metrics effectively, and learn from startup thought leaders raise 7x more money and have 3.5x better user growth."

Here is another fact:

"The right mentors significantly influence a company's performance and ability to raise money. "

Innovation

Innovation is a very important factor to success: but today you need to know as much as you can not just about your business, but about technologies available that only technical person can help you with to translate your requirements into products with innovation. Most people overlook importance of technical founders.

Here is how you can innovate

  1. New Product or Product Quality
  2. New Method of Production
  3. New Market
  4. Conquest of Raw Material
  5. New Kind of Organization

(adapted form Schumpeter)

Pitch your idea to 12 strangers

In conclusion, in order to be successful, the very first thing you need to start is to pitch your business idea to 12 strangers, I would suggest that at least 4 of those people will be professionals form the industry to which you are going to sell). Track their responses, including the questions they ask, and prepare report.

Sometimes you can analyze the consumers and the industry by just talking to a small segment.

Here is a good example how my partner validated idea for writing software for Digital Video Surveillance and the problems we uncovered during our research phase. We had a software we previously delivered for real time broadcasting in Erlang, so we just bought non-expencive IP camera ($20) and very non-expensive computer ($60 bucks, - today there are plenty of other hardware such us www.raspberrypi.org for as low as $25.00. It worked perfectly and even the resolution was good.

Validating the idea of writing a software for Digital Video Surveillance

You also can read about

Creative Marketing Research for Digital Video Surveillance

or become our strategic partner

to enter Security Surveillance Marketplace.

Posted by lisa
Categories: Business Entrepreneurship Product Innovation Marketing Video Surveillance Software