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Innovation & Commercialization Part 1 of 4

Posted on March 27 2013 | Author: Admin

“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” Theologian John Henry Newman (1801-1890); a similar variation is widely attributed to Winston Churchill (1874-1953).

The Ubiquity of the Word “Innovation”
It’s everywhere. Publicly-funded agencies are dedicated to it. Newly-formed businesses spin it into a corporate name. Training seminars and university courses are mandated to teach it. Organizations of every description are warned to do it or die. The word “innovation” is bandied around much like the word ‘strategy’ was treated during the 1980’s - with hefty investment of scarce resources dedicated to the concept, yet, without definition, established criteria, and, objective means of measurement.

…What is it?
An objective, comprehensive, tested-and-true characterization hails from the authoritative OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, author of Oslo Manual for measuring innovation), which defines four types of innovation - product, process, marketing and organizational:

Lessons from the Past; Examples for the Future
“Best is the enemy of Good Enough”
The first model need not be perfect, or complete.
The Blackberry® has undergone several improvements since first launched as a wireless email pager in 1999. Blackberry Inc. (formerly RIM) took a page from the tin can. The steel can patent of 1810 preceded the first canning factory of 1813. Filling rate was automated and increased 10 fold, to 60 cans per hour, in 1846. The first can opener was patented in 1858, almost 50 years after the tin can patent. The Arctic was explored by men carrying cans of food to be opened with a hammer and chisel.
“Necessity is the Mother of Invention”
Fulfillment of consumer need and marketing pull will sustain and perpetuate commercialization.
In 1863, London England was a global political, financial and trading centre, with 3 million citizens and limited transportation options. The automobile had not yet been invented. The Underground aka “the tube” - a network of tunnels, tracks and trains - was developed “to keep the congested city moving”, forever changing public transportation in every major metropolis of the world. In fulfillment of consumer requirements, Summer Olympics’ demands, and to mark the tube’s 150th anniversary, wifi coverage is available at selected stations as of June 2012.

Safety of Tradition; Risk of Innovation
Who is cradling tradition? Who is not threatened by the complexity of the modern world but rather, invigorated and enriched by it? Which organizations have the necessary degree of self-appraisal to thrive? What is required to operate in a context of challenging uncertainty? Where is the talent to anticipate consumer needs and identify solutions?

Subsequent Editions of Food Fax®
Over the course of the year Food Fax® will report on the defining characteristics of successful and game-changing innovations, such as: the daily rituals, mindset and tenacity of classic inventors, and, the role of technology in commercializing ideas.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor

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Business Planning

Posted on March 13 2013 | Author: Tom Dowler

Business planning…this can be an all-consuming undertaking for any company. It can take up significant time and resources, both of which are scarce commodities for small companies. Your company already expends maximum effort to managing critical functions for its business activities, such as sales & marketing, manufacturing, and business development.

However, a functioning business plan is critical for charting the direction of a company, activities the aforementioned “scarce commodities” will be directed towards and of course, raising money from public and private sources.

Here are some tips and guides to getting started.

  • Determine who the business plan will be written for. Is the intended use for internal strategic direction or will it explain to potential investors or funders the direction of the company and why it is worthy of investment?
  • Understand how each section will be approached. There are plenty of templates out there, the general sections included in each focusing on (i) how your business came to be and the commercial purpose it will serve, (ii) the products or services you will be selling, as well as further development required to bring product to market, (iii) the technology platform that makes your company unique (iv) the state and trends of the markets your product may be directed towards, (v) the model by which you will moving your product to customers, and of course, (vi) corporate and financial sections. A strong knowledge of each of these focuses helps shape and articulate your value proposition, important in moving your business in the right direction and finding that “low-hanging fruit” you keep hearing about.
  • Supplement your knowledge in sections of weakness. When contemplating your approach, it will be apparent which sections are areas of strength and which are areas of weakness for your company. Areas of weakness should be more difficult to frame, so determine how your knowledge may be supplemented through research, advice from partners or other sources of assistance you identify.
  • Dig in and get writing! There will likely be numerous drafts and iterations over the course of business plan development but getting started is often the toughest part.

Be aware that writing a business plan requires a great deal of time but will uncover new opportunities and strategies not yet considered and in the long-term, will be one of the more valuable activities you undertake as a business.

Tom Dowler
Senior Business Analyst

Image credit: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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