5 Truths That Are Critical to Innovation Success

Recently the Eureka! Ranch celebrated 35 years in business. Over those years we have learned that there are 5 truths that are critical to finding success with innovation.

1.  Alignment on what is an innovation is the start:

Successful innovation begins with alignment on a precise and measurable definition of WHAT is an innovation. We define an idea as an innovation if it is “Meaningfully Unique.” We measure it by asking customers how likely they are to purchase (meaningfulness) and how new and different (unique) they perceive the idea to be. With Meaningful Uniqueness as the definition of innovation is no longer a debate. Rather, it’s grounded in factual evidence.  And it works. Ideas with greater Meaningful Uniqueness create word of mouth, awareness, distribution trial purchase/usage, and repeat purchase/usage.

2.  Failure is Fundamental:

Meaningfully Unique innovations have never been done before.  To make them real you need to test, try, and experiment. You must embrace failure as just the normal process required to turn big ideas into reality. Rapid cycles of experimentation are run because we don’t know the answer before we begin. Importantly, these cycles of learning are not random. Rather, they are disciplined cycles of what is known as the Deming cycle – Plan, Do, Study, Act. Importantly – “study” is used in place of “check” in the cycles.

3.  No math. No innovation:

Doing the math on sales, savings, profits, costs, etc. turns your idea into a business opportunity. Doing the math helps you make sure that your idea has the potential to make a meaningful difference in the world. When you do the math using the new risk-adjusted methods you quickly quantify the areas of greater risk due to uncertainty in your understanding.

4.  No patent. No innovation:

The highest standard of Meaningful Uniqueness is an innovation that is patentable. Ideas that are patentable generate pride and passion. Ideas that are patentable are by definition, nonobvious to someone with ordinary skill in the area. Conversely, ideas that are not patentable are obvious. Sadly, existing patent writing, searching, and management systems are not aligned with the newest laws and best practices. In fact, when we give business leaders our Patent Literacy test they score 60% correct.  Note it’s a true/false test thus 50% correct would be random guessing.

4.  You have got to LOVE it:

If you don’t love and we mean really love your innovation then you’re not going to invest the energy required to make it happen. Innovation equals change and working through change requires a massive investment of energy. The only way you can sustain the energy required to commercialize a meaningfully unique idea is if you really love it.

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