When we talk about innovative ideas, the subject of their protection becomes very important. Let us first remember that an idea in itself cannot be the subject of legal protection. It is only its concrete application that will make it possible to apply for a patent or utility certificate or to file design or model. The project leader should not hesitate to approach innovation experts very early to take all the necessary precautions.
What exactly does this notion of innovation cover?
In “innovation”, there is the word “innovative” and therefore “new”. A company will, therefore, be innovative if it launches a new product, service or process, or if it is created from real organizational innovation.
A new product: it will not be the development and marketing of a product that did not exist before or has characteristics that make it significantly more efficient, more attractive, and more original than existing. The problem lies in knowing if it really answers a real need for which users will be willing to pay the right price or if the improvement is sufficient to convince consumers to change their purchasing habits.
A new service: in this case, it will be a question of know-how or a concept based on elements of already existing offers which, in most cases, will be easily capable. The challenge will be to penetrate the market as quickly as possible to become “the reference”.
A new process: it will involve the development of new or significantly improved production or distribution methods. New technologies are an important part of process innovations. But a company created in this field will be considered innovative only if it takes the opposite of established behavior.
A new technological process can involve a lot of applications, the difficulty will be to determine a marketing strategy well adapted to the limited means of business creation to choose the markets to conquer first.
Risks of innovation
Invention often creates a “break” especially in the design and distribution of products. Thus, it presents particular risks due to the reluctance of certain manufacturers and distributors as well as the attitude of end consumers who are not always “ready” to welcome a change, for different reasons:
• A sometimes inadequate selling price,
• Poor presentation or explanation of the product,
• Poor dissemination of the product,
• A “differential of utility” insufficient compared to the existing products,
• A clutter, an impractical use, or even an inappropriate aesthetic aspect,
• A psychological reluctance: brake, blocking …
• A change of habit too important etc.
These criteria greatly complicate the technical and commercial feasibility analysis of the innovative product. Obviously, the more the creator-innovator will know beforehand his potential customers (their expectations), the manufacturers (their technical constraints), and the distributors (their requirements) the more he will have chances.
The idea, the invention and the questions to ask
To concretize and make lucrative an innovative idea, it is necessary to go through a certain number of obligatory steps. To think that one’s idea can easily be bought by a large industrial group is often utopian!
Any creator who finds an ingenious idea generally thinks he is the only one to have found it. This is rarely the case. In our daily life, we find ourselves confronted with a set of constraints, blockages, impediments that human nature tries to circumvent.
Why is it difficult to get an idea? Because the costs and risks inherent in exploiting an innovative idea are often considered too important. An idea, an invention has value for a company only if it can lead to a product and the marketing of it for a sufficient return!
The main questions to ask yourself: Has the idea already been found and developed? Can I really use this idea on my own? Will the idea be of interest to an industrialist? Will the idea capture a sufficient, accessible and solvent market?
In an innovative project, the usual risks of any business creation are added concomitantly those of implementation of innovation. However, the notion of innovation is very broad. It can range from the simple improvement/adaptation/ ingenious transposition of an existing offer to the creation from scratch of a completely revolutionary product/service/ process. As a result, depending on the case, the additional risks may relate more to:
• The personal dimension of the creator: inability to control everything, dissension in the founding team, etc.
• The technological risk: cost escalation, catastrophic delay, unrealized reliability, etc.
• Market reaction: slow response, insufficient response, etc.
• Competitors’ reaction: obstruction, powerful copiers, etc.
• Or the intrinsic development of the company: uncontrolled growth uncontrolled, etc.
More than ever, the development of an innovative company requires that the creator resorts to adequate advice and support structures.