Many people have commented that one of the keys to generating jobs and therefore stimulating the economy is innovation. If this is the case, we are talking about the successful transformation of new ideas into commercialized goods and services.
Where do These Ideas come from?
Every one of us is capable of being creative. The fact that we can think is the proof. We can think and we can use our imagination, therefore we are capable of visualizing something that currently does not exist. This is creativity. The next step is to take some action about what we think about. An individual may develop an idea for a new form of transport in his mind, however it is not until he takes the first step of action that the population has any chance of realizing the benefits of this new idea. This step may be as basic as sketching his idea on a pad, or starting to identify and record manufacturing specifications.
Our society calls these people inventors and entrepreneurs. Interestingly, this gives the illusion that these skills belong to only a few people and are scarce, when in fact the terms apply to all of us.
What Stops them from being implemented now?
Under the current system, people with ideas that need capital and know-how to be commercialized have a number of options, including:
• Raising the capital on their own
• Government Grants
• Venture Capitalists
This step has proven to be difficult even for the most excellent ideas. This is because of the reluctance of people and organizations to invest in anything that is in the “start-up” phase and because it only represents one component of what the entrepreneur/ investor needs to be successful.
There are many variables that determine the success or failure of a new venture. To name a few, they are the idea itself, the character of the entrepreneur/ inventor, the application of the four P’s, Product, Price, Promotion and Place (distribution) and the level of knowledge and skills of the management team. Is it any wonder that so many new businesses fail? The probability of getting all of this right makes it closer to impossible than probable to succeed.
The Solution is Simple but very Effective
Large corporations are the most effective channel for the implementation of innovation. These organizations have:
• International branch network and infrastructure
• A high level of technical excellence
• Access to capital
• Marketing expertise
• A proven track record of launching new products
So if this is the ideal channel, why is it not being used now?
Entrepreneurs and inventors will not use this channel now to implement their ideas because of some very real issues:
• Corporations have a history of not being able to be trusted with other people’s Intellectual Property (I.P.)
• They will rarely have a fair compensation process in place
• The inventor/ entrepreneur will most likely be disconnected from being part of the process of bringing their own idea to market
Not only do the above points prevent external entrepreneurs and inventors from using the ideal channel to launch their products, but it also stops employees from telling their employers about their good ideas as well.
At this stage we have established:
1. All people are capable of being creative
2. The current capital raising and commercialization process is failing
3. Large corporations represent the best route to market for new ideas
4. Lots of people work for corporations
This then makes the solution both simple and effective. In addition to carrying on business as normal, we can transform our large corporations into conduits for innovation that is generated by entrepreneurs and inventors from both inside and outside the organization. To do this they will need to have in place:
• A culture that promotes truth, fairness and trust
• Compensation for entrepreneurs/ inventors that includes a mixture of equity, commission payments, royalty payments and I.P. ownership
• An innovation implementation process that includes active participation by the entrepreneur/ inventor
The definition of caress is a gentle touch or gesture of fondness, tenderness, or love. This is what our economy needs to re-generate. We need to:
• Implement the gentle touch of change within our large corporations
• Look upon them with fondness for what they are capable of doing and delivering
• Treat our entrepreneurs and inventors with tenderness and love because they (all of us) contain our future in their ideas, their creativity
It is now time to stop playing with the word innovation and treating it like some unreachable goal. To put an end to the pretend systems that are now in place for bringing new ideas to market and get serious about implementing innovation through large corporations. They are the best available channel to secure our future.