I am often asked what I think the winning ingredient is to commercialize a new idea – is it having a novel technology? Riding a rising market wave? Capturing an established ecosystem? While these things certainly can contribute to success, throughout my career I’ve observed one essential ingredient that is the mortar for all of these, and that is: the confidence to commercialize.
Confidence can be a powerful force to overcome the fear of failure, the criticism of peers, and the tough opinions of outright naysayers. Founders who have the confidence to commercialize develop a deep sense of purpose and commitment to carry their idea forward. Those that lack confidence tend to stay below the radar, dismissing commercialization in order to stay hidden from view.
If you want to ignite the full commercial potential in your organization, it starts with inspiring the confidence to commercialize. I’ve outlined below three organizational building blocks to establish the foundation. We will look at each of these in more detail in future posts.
- Innovators Who Feel Connected to the Business Cause:
The scientist, engineer, researcher or other innovator must feel valued as part of the process of commercialization. This might sound warm and fuzzy, but it’s very real. Innovators must be PREPARED to engage with people very unlike themselves, such as business people, customers, industry partners, and so on. If their ideas are simply handed off to business prematurely, innovators will rarely develop the confidence to champion their own ideas forward.
- A Culture of Confidence:
Leaders at all levels need to walk the talk to create a culture of commercialization. Whether we like to admit it or not, if it’s not strategic, it doesn’t get attention. As a friend of mine always says, “if it has a line item in the budget, it’s important”. To inspire confidence in their innovators, organizations must show that they are “open for business” when it comes to new and novel ideas. They must have signs and symbols that demonstrate that new ideas are the core engine of success.
- Space to EXPLORE New Ideas:
Too often, an organization’s first response to a new idea is to ASSESS its merits. But even the best early stage ideas can be thorny and complicated at the starting gate. Their true value may be well disguised by complicated science and technology. The only way to uncover their business value is to equip innovators with tools to EXPLORE the commercial possibilities and potential. The message is simple – Explore, Don’t Assess new and novel ideas. This alone will start you on the road to igniting the confidence of innovators
Wishing You Commercialization Success,