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Increasing the probability of monetizing innovation with right FUEL

07 May 2021

Spray and pray should not be the approach if you want to monetize your innovation, and thinking there are buyers out there who will pay is naive. Solution identification should be based on profound research, market validation, needs assessment, and price point validation with prospective customers. Nevertheless, you should be prudent and remember that your solution is not going to be a silver bullet that addresses every customer's needs! Customer needs vary, but the underlying principles, foundation, and solution framework should be solid, and agile to adopt and to scale, as necessary.

If your intent is serious about monetizing then, you should start with a bunch of simple yet critical questions that need to be validated and answered for the selected idea to move from ideation to productization:

  • Is the identification of the problem based on an outside-in or inside-out approach?

  • Is there a need?

  • Is this a problem worth solving?

  • Does it create value?

  • Will it help in improving the Customer Experience Index?

  • Is price point found …?

This is not an exhaustive list of questions, but this should give you early indications whether you are on the right path or not.

Assuming you found you are on the right path, before moving ahead and investing in the idea, it is essential to know that your clients are willing to pay and you have ensured that all known pitfalls are avoided, particularly the top 5 ones listed below:

Top 5 Known Pitfalls:

  1. Driving innovation with dominant inside-out approach

  2. Not involving prospective customers/buyers from the beginning

  3. Not validating the pricing with potential customers/buyers

  4. Working on a new product or service in isolation where it is controlled entirely by the innovation team

  5. Low degree of C level stakeholders' involvement and commitment

Hence, any solution identified should be based on the outside-in approach using the Know Your Customer (KYC) principle backed with profound insights into customer needs without which you are on the path of failure.

Is this sufficient? What more can be done to fortify the business case? How do you know that you are right? How to establish that it is the right thing to do? Is the timing, right? What is the expected ROI?

So, how do you go about it? One approach that you could use, which I bid as the "FUEL" filter. FUEL (in this context) stands for Futuristic, Unique, Evolving, and Leverageable. The graphic below explains the idea clearly.

I have propounded this simple model and have tested it over time for its usefulness. This is a commonsense approach, which can be used to determine whether your idea is 'leverageable'. In this model, both subjective and objective findings/ data points/ observations/ validations are taken into consideration to measure the potential ROI.

It is shown from various studies that 40 to 90% of innovations fail, proving again that customers must be involved right from the beginning, even in the FUEL filtration exercise. It is one of the main reasons why I believe the industry is increasingly embracing co-creation, co-innovation models as a favored option. This style of working brings a high focus on customer centricity, value creation, increased customer experience, willingness to pay, hence raising the prospects of your innovation. Using the FUEL filter will surely improve the chances of successful monetization of new and innovative solutions.

Author: Mahesh D. Narasimhamurthy, Financial Services Solutions, TietoEVRY

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