Commercialisation – consider all the angles

30588286_mlThere are a number of ways to approach commercialisation. Personally, I am repeatedly drawn to the utility of the Human Centred Design [HCD] drivers of Desirability, Viability and Feasibility. In my mind this model succinctly underpins much of the innovation process and consequently provides an excellent platform for thinking about commercialisation. I’ve mentioned before that the single most important takeaway from the Lean Startup movement ought to be that the business as a whole needs to be modelled, prototyped, iterated and validated. This concept dovetails nicely with the HCD framework above since both the Lean Canvas and its progenitor, the Business Model Canvas, focus on three main areas that ostensibly address each of these three overarching themes.

“Commercialisation is about more than just turning Intellectual Property into products. It’s about creating markets. Unless companies embrace the broader view… they are limiting their opportunities” – Grant Steinberg, Entrepreneur

When it comes to developing a commericalisation strategy there is often an overwhelming array of things to consider and precious little time or resources available with which to do so. Moreover, it is not uncommon to slip into the trap of giving undue bias to one of the guiding themes at the expense of the other two.

It can help, therefore, to reflect on the simple frameworks mentioned above and distil from them the key questions that must be answered. Standing on the shoulders of giants, I have tried to do that here and the material presented can serve as a useful checklist to make sure you address the most critical considerations up front.

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Augmenting Your Reality

31970399_mlIt’s been a while since I’ve commented on emerging technology so this week I thought I’d take a quick look at where we are with augmented reality (AR) and, in particular, iBeacon’s role in this space. There are many opinions out there addressing the benefits of location-based information and/or immersive experiences. However, a recurring theme seems to be the overwhelming reluctance to don a pair of glasses or goggles just to be transported to another world however augmented it may be. That said, there are plenty of people that believe AR will be transformational.

“When you think of any aspect of life or work, augmented reality is going to change how we do it.” – Ori Inbar, Augmented Reality.ORG

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Resilience – get some

17708483_mlLast week I attended a 1-day conference themed around the idea of Resilience. While we were casually sipping our morning coffee, one of the first speakers asked the audience to raise a hand if they knew someone who had experienced depression – a forest of hands shot into the air – pretty much everyone in the packed conference hall. That surprised me and so did many of the statistics that followed. So, here, I will present a snapshot of what was discussed to help raise awareness a little. I will also distil some of the key recommendations to help you and those you care about build some resilience ahead of time.

In the Australian workplace only 24% are actually engaged whilst 60% are not engaged and 16% are actively disengaged. Moreover, 12% report being highly stressed every day. Apparently, 45% of Australians will have a mental health issue in their lifetime and one in five will actually be experiencing a mental health issue at any given time. Look around you. Worryingly, 86% of us prefer to suffer in silence.

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Commercialisation – don’t screw up

28864087_mlIn various blogs and news-feeds recently, both Blackbird Ventures and Sydney Seed Fund have estimated that, of the perhaps 1000+ startups formed this year in Australia, only 10% are attracting external funding and the percentage is much lower for the very early stages entrants. Part of the reason for these figures seems to be attributable to the growth in the number of people giving entrepreneurialism a shot whilst at the same time failing to adopt any kind of robust commercialisation process. 

“There’s really nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself” – JS Bach

As a musician, this quote makes me smile. I recognise that having a framework is not enough but I do believe that not using one at all is a recipe for disaster.

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I won’t need to innovate in my job

3683769_mlI recently learnt that many college and university students are uninterested in the ideas and techniques that underpin innovation because they feel that it doesn’t apply to them. If they do not envisage becoming entrepreneurs or designers or engineers or scientists then what’s the point? I do not believe it is a massive leap of the imagination to assume that this type of thinking might also permeate the general working populace. That’s disappointing because there are very few, if any, organisations that are content to rest on their laurels and coast along at the same levels of performance year on year in any part of their value chain. If you want to avoid slipping back in the pack then you have got to innovate and this applies to every area not just the laboratories… 

“Innovation opportunities do not come with the tempest but with the rustling of the breeze” – Peter Drucker

I believe that the problem is two-fold. The first is an issue with the perception of what innovation is really about. The second is the lack of a supporting culture and environment.

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If only they gave it more thought

17934819_mlI had an interesting conversation earlier this week where an observation was made that the job market is flooded with very competent doers but what we really need is more thinkers. That got me thinking about what mind-set and behaviours a person needs to bring to the table and, equally as important, how projects and activities should be set up in the first place.

I am constantly hearing stories of situations where project drivers are not clear and where ownership is confused. I have encountered a fair few myself. Commonly, there is an imperative to ‘just get it done’ with only scant attention paid to the measures of success and the level of enablement provided by the operating environment. In situations like these there is often a premature expectation regarding the solution based on recycling some approach that has ‘kinda worked’ before but which might not be applicable this time around. Deprived of any real opportunity to influence the direction, people are put to work executing the mechanics of the game without really having much skin or belief in it. This is clearly not a recipe for success.

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