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Common misconceptions about product innovation

Posted by Kanika Sinha

May 30, 2016

You’ve got a great idea for launching a new product or service. Perhaps you’ve started laying the groundwork.

But, if you are like many entrepreneurs, the process involved with creating and then launching that new product or service is often overwhelming and frightening.

Or, perhaps you are overconfident and believe your new product or service can stand on its own, and everyone will want it.

Both scenarios are difficult for the fledgling entrepreneur.

The process of product innovation can either be successful, or it can fall flat. You can improve your chances of success by avoiding the following common misconceptions about product innovation.

All innovation is good

While it might be nice to think so, this statement is false. We’ve seen quite a few innovations that are better left in the basement.

Not all innovations should be brought to market. Do your research to make sure your product is viable.

This brings us back to the old adage, “Build it, and they will come.”

It’s a bad idea to assume that just because you’ve built something you think is marketable, that the rest of the world will want it too.

It’s up to you to assess the market, conduct focus groups, review feedback and then move forward with the build.

The product must be radically different

This seems like an intuitive thought process, but again this is a common misconception.

Your product doesn’t have to be radically different – look at Apple and Android phones.

If your innovation seems bizarre to your target market, it will be hard for them to visualize using it.

That being said, if you’re developing something that your research shows has potential, consider using your marketing to frame the innovation in a way people will understand.

Getting to market quickly is important

What’s really important is getting your product to market when it’s ready.

While speed is sometimes important, your product must be ready, and you must have conducted all of your research and due diligence.

You don’t want to skip steps in the evaluation process.

High failure rate is normal

While to some degree this statement is true, the misconception lies in the why.

So yes, many innovations do fail, but this is because innovators failed to conduct their research, talk to customers, and fully communicate the value of the product.

Here are some tips for avoiding failure – ask these questions before launching for your best shot at success:

• Does the customer really need my product or service?
• How do I know?
• Can a competitor meet the customer’s needs less expensively?
• Am I keeping tabs on the competition?
• Have I conducted research? Held focus groups?
• How many other products like it are on the market?
• Do I have a team working with me to take my innovation to completion?
• What might go wrong?
• Do I have a plan for launch?
• Do I have buy-in from influencers and/or venture capitalists?
• Have I put measurement criteria and metrics into motion through my business and marketing plan?
• Can I handle production?

Now that we’ve looked at a few common misconceptions about product innovation, let’s look at the innovators.

Final thoughts

Wondering who does the largest share of innovating?

Let’s take America as an example. According to a recent study, not only do the demographics of U.S. innovation differ from the demographics of the nation as a whole, but they also differ from the demographics of college-educated Americans, even those with PhDs in engineering and science.

The study goes on to show that immigrants comprise perhaps the largest and most vital parts of American innovation.

Here are a few of the study’s most striking characteristics:

• Women represent just 12% of U.S. innovators.
• More than 35% of U.S. innovators were born outside the United States.
• More than 17% of innovators aren’t U.S. citizens but are making great contributions anyway.
• Immigrant innovators are better educated than native-born U.S. innovators.
• The median age of innovators is 47.
• More than 90% majored in a STEM subject in college.
• About 60% of private-sector innovations come from businesses with more than 500 employees. Around 16% come from firms with fewer than 25 employees.

Now that you know the common misconceptions about product innovation and a few statistics on who does the majority of innovating, you have some tools to move forward with your own product innovations.

Remember that anyone can be an innovator. It takes a superb product or service coupled with thorough research and planning for success.

Are you a new startup? Are you looking to get your new business off the ground and watch it rise to success? We are here for you. We can help answer your questions and guide you through the process. Outsource your finances, payroll, HR duties and more to us. Contact Escalon today to get started.

Image: Glenn Carstens-Peters


Kanika Sinha
Kanika Sinha

Kanika is an enthusiastic content writer who craves to push the boundaries and explore uncharted territories. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of business-to-business dynamics, she creates compelling narratives that help businesses achieve tangible ROI. When not hunched over the keyboard, you can find her sweating it out in the gym, or indulging in a marathon of adorable movies with her young son.

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