Practical innovation

Most theories of innovation fall short of giving a practical approach that can actually be used to innovate. This happens often because people are focused on creating more opportunities and not on commercialising these opportunities. So good innovation is defined as having great ideas and exploiting the commercial sense in them.


Business models and process innovation differentiates the serious players from people that take ideas and hope they turn into gold.


Most research actually points to the fact that entrepreneurs are very bad at taking on board new ideas as they only focus on making the one or two things that they are interested in work really well.


To take this further requires the serious entrepreneur to look at the market segments that they can and will service. The entrepreneur also uses innovation to see how it will change and enhance the customer journey in these segments. Once you are in the shoes of the customer and you figure out how the business model works in these areas – you are moving forward at a rapid pace. A customer really needs to be understood, rationally, socially and emotionally to bring them the best.


To commercialise the idea it is suggested that you


  1. Clearly define exactly what you are offering – and to whom you are offering it.
  2. Prove the concept by establishing a working version or at least proof that people will buy it.
  3. Analyse your market segments – who will buy it – and how will they pay for it?
  4. Protect yourself, through legal agreements, accreditations, trademarks and copyrights.
  5. Establish operating entities, invest in staff and production facilities and “Sell, sell, sell”.


The key to practical innovation is to move beyond the loose concept to disciplined execution of a plan to get your product into the hands of your customers. A good course on entrepreneurship and innovation can help you crystalise your thinking.