An innovation can only be considered promising when it has shown its worth on the market.
In SMEs, the technical aspect is much too often overestimated, to the detriment of criteria associated with use of the product and its marketing. SMEs, therefore risk having a great invention with astronomical production costs or corresponding to an existing invention.
Moreover, companies often forget that competitors also protect the products or services they develop with intellectual property rights. Therefore, without sufficient checks, you run the risk of infringing third-party rights with your innovations and improvements.
The business case box below offers an important selection tool when developing an innovation (checklist available to download opposite). The selection criteria are as follows:
- Objective. What is the main objective and what is the utility of the new product for the customer?
- Status quo. What is the proportion of innovation in the product in question and what are the existing components? Is the invention protected by a patent?
- Strategy. To what extent does the implementation strategy coincide with the company’s overall strategy?
- Risk. What are the identifiable risks and what will the consequences of these be for the project? At what level of frequency can the probability of occurrence be evaluated?
- Resources. What human, technical, financial, organizational and intellectual resources are incorporated into the project?
- Economic importance. What is the capacity of the market? What is the impact on cash flow? How do overheads and selling costs work?
- Prospects. What prospects does the innovation open up in terms of the company, its customers and the competition?
- Project plan. What process, which responsibilities and what time-budget does realization of the innovation entail?
- Summary. Draw up a summary of the results, possibly carrying out an analysis of negatives and positives.