Lesson 7. Generation, incubation and commercialization of ideas and innovations
It’s always very difficult to initiate business and it’s even more difficult to maintain it smoothly. This process of establishment of business begins with generation of innovative ideas followed by the incubation of those ideas and finally leads to the commercialization of the same ideas. All these three steps are inter related.
7.2. GENERATION OF IDEA
All Entrepreneurs need to have ideas to initiate their entrepreneurial ventures. The process of generating ideas is itself an innovative process. The question is from where an Entrepreneur can get the idea. Different researchers have tried to find out the source of an entrepreneur’s ideas. The sources for idea are as under:
Individual interests or hobbies
Work experiences, knowledge, and skills.
Existing products and current services, surrounding the environment.
7.3. HOW TO GENERATE IDEAS
(1)Environmental scanning: Entrepreneurs should make use of available information to catch the current developing trend in business and for that he should keep reading local, national, international; news papers, magazines, journals, commercial articles, and should keep watching commercial news on TV. Moreover, it may look like a difficult task but the potential entrepreneurs should do it passionately to get in touch with theEcurrent scenario.
(2)Use of Creativity to problem solving: entrepreneurs should use their creativity to have solution of unusual problem. Creative thinking means to link new concepts in extraordinary manner.
For example, here are a few specific techniques:
The checklist method, in which an entrepreneur makes use of different questions or statements and thereby develops new ideas.
Free association, in which an entrepreneur develops a new idea through a series of word associations;
Attribute listing, in which an entrepreneur develops a new idea by looking at the constructive and unconstructive attributes of a product or service.
Any of the above mentioned methods help generate potential entrepreneurial ideas.
(3) Brainstorming: One of the most popular approaches to generating ideas is brainstorming. It is an idea-generating process for getting dynamic solutions that gives a large number of alternatives. Brainstorming is a simple technique that can be done with friends or colleagues. In a brainstorming session, a group of people get together, mostly in a relaxed atmosphere, where everyone feels free to broaden their minds and imagine beyond the ordinary. A group leader presents the issue or problem to be solved and ensures that all participants identify with it. Then members put up as many ideas as they can in a specified time by explaining them orally. Participants are motivated to come up with as many ideas possible and to build on one another’s ideas. In brainstorming sessions, discussion is nonstop as participants propose a good number of ideas. No participant is allowed to criticize the ideas of other participants during the brainstorming session. Moreover, all ideas delivered by the participants get recorded and are further put for discussion. The purpose of brainstorming is to open up as many alternatives as possible. It can lead to strong arguments and counterarguments but it is certainly a fruitful way to generate abundant ideas.
(4)Focus groups: These groups of people’s present information about projected products or services in a prearranged setting. In a focus group, a moderator focuses the group discussion on number of issues. For example, a focus group might look at a proposed product and answer specific questions asked by the moderator. Secondly, the focus group might be given a moral general issue to discuss and the moderator simply leads the discussion based on interpretations made by the group. Thus, a focus group can provide an outstanding technique to generate innovative ideas.
(5)The Role of Intuition: Intuition is a cognitive process through which we knowingly or unknowingly make decisions on the basis of our knowledge and experience. It is perhaps a sudden outcome of the mind. Even though structured or systematic approaches to generating ideas are important, intuition also plays an important role. Intuition is certainly a powerful source of new ideas if you learn how to use it effectively. However, the best approach of all could be to combine the structured with the intuitive as both of them complement each other. We should listen to that intuition and use more structured approaches to modify our ideas.
7.4. IDEA INCUBATION
Idea incubation means to exercise the ideas in reality. It begins with basic elements by the one who considers the particular idea as the best to be used. He/she involves others in the process and proves the idea to be perfect. Finally, the idea results into a new product believing that it is capable enough to avail fund successfully and is also commercially useful. Numerous companies promote idea incubation by grouping workforce collectively in cooperative environments. Cooperative groups work best for idea incubation so as to identify strengths and weaknesses of the idea, and thereby product which is more refined and strong can be gained. Several companies offer their services as professional idea incubators. These companies use a trained staff that can think innovatively. There are lots of Idea incubation firms which provide support to product development throughout the process from the initial vague concept to viable manufacture. Successful idea incubation can result into all types of products. Finally, what requires is strong leadership and administrative skills along with entrepreneurial guts. Once an idea is incubated, it needs to be further developed and commercially presented. This depends a lot on the team leader who can motivate the employees to use the idea in productive way.
Business incubators are programme,s intended to speed up the successful improvement of entrepreneurial companies. Incubators differ in the way of their services, in their organizational constitution, and more or less in the types of consumers they serve. Successful completion of a business incubation programme increases the probability that a new company will continue in business for the long period.
7.5. The incubation process:
• Help with business fundamentals
• Networking management
• Promotional support
• Speedy Internet access
• assist with financial management
• Access to bank loan, funds and security programmes
• Deal with presentation skills
• Linkage with higher education resources
• Links to strategic partners
• Access venture capital
• Comprehensive business training programmes
• Advisory boards and mentors
• organization panel identification
• Technology commercialization assistance
• Intellectual asset management
Entrepreneurs who wish to enter a business incubation program must apply for admission. Acceptance criteria vary from program to program, but in general only those with feasible business ideas and a workable business plan are admitted. It is this factor that makes it difficult to compare the success rates of incubated companies against general business survival statistics. Although most incubators offer their clients office space and shared administrative services, the heart of a true business incubation program is the services it provides to start-up companies. The amount of time a company spends in an incubation program can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the type of business and the entrepreneur's level of business expertise. Life science and other firms with long research and development cycles require more time in an incubation program than manufacturing or service companies that can immediately produce and bring a product or service to market.
It is the process of introducing a new product into the market. It’s the most important aspect of business as the success of any product depends a lot on the way it’s being commercialized.
The Commercialization Process:
Commercialization of a product is possible with only the following three facts:
1. The launching period:
The time to launch any product in the market should be decided after observing the market condition and consumers’ interests.
2 Place to launch its product:.
A product can be launched at a single place or at many places at a time. This depends a lot on the company’s resources, in terms of capital, administrative intelligence and operational capacities. Smaller companies usually launch in attractive cities or regions, while larger companies launch their products at national r international level at a time. Multinational companies do launch their products at international level as they have that capacity as far as finance and skilled staff is concerned.
3. To decide primary target consumer group:
This primary consumer group should consist of innovators, early adopters, heavy users and/or opinion leaders. This will guarantee the success so as to be used in nearer future by other buyers in the market place.
Thus, commercialization of new product is perhaps the most important aspect that needs to be taken care for the success of new product
Mohanty, S.K. 2009. Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship. Prentice Hall of India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
Mary Coulter. 2008. Entrepreneurship in Action. Prentice Hall of India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi