So you have a great idea and you have spent time and limited resources to refine that idea into a new prototype. It all works just fine in your makerspace. You have confidence that your prototype can be made into a full blown new product and meet the projected market you envision. So now what?
“Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.” –Thomas Edison
Experienced innovators say now comes the toughest part….getting people to invest in your vision and provide the funds to make that product ready for the marketplace. This is exactly what great shows like “Shark Tank” are all about, where the rubber meets the road, and that new product bumps up against reality. Getting a product to market requires very different skills than building a workable prototype in an isolated makerspace; and it often requires some additional product team members.
Innovation is the true test of new ideas. It is invention plus marketability! Edison had 10,000 employee mouths to feed at his legendary West Orange Labs. He and his new product development staff had to convert ideas to prototypes and then secure the funding to take it to market or raise the money themselves directly. Edison spent a great deal of time in New York City with the likes of J. P. Morgan and others to secure funding for bold new disruptive technologies.
In days past, the chief method of obtaining the necessary funding for breaking into the marketplace was bankers, venture capitalists and perhaps a consortium of investors [like Shark Tank]. This is still true today, but with the ubiquitous Internet, one can use crowdsource funding and a variety of other ways to reach out to potential investors or interested parties.
Check out some crowdsource type funding here:
For all the inventors and innovators out there, stay focused. It’s a tough business. Only about 4 out of 160 ideas become a viable product in the marketplace. Do not neglect the marketing/sales/economic end of the equation. Innovation is much more than just cool technology.
“I have more respect for the fellow with a single idea who gets there than for the fellow with a thousand ideas who does nothing.” –Thomas Edison
Keep in mind the Edison business philosophy:
- Think out of the box
- Be entrepreneurial … take risks
- Fail your way to success
- Success demands that you improve your products
Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”
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