Top innovation tips - for entrepreneurs and innovators

Sometimes, the words of the wise can really help. When it comes to innovation, they're invaluable. Here are some hints and tips for entrepreneurs and innovators.

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Top Tips for entrepreneurs and innovators

- Work on the business model from day one. Too many great ideas fail because there is not a robust strategy for generating revenues. Consider rolling out the innovation in stages by modules or by geography to bring in revenues earlier, and keep a tight reign on costs.

- Think about the skills you need to develop the innovation, and to market it. Innovators are not always as good as managers. Consider Google: chief executive Eric Schmidt has done much to funnel the founders' ideas into a workable business. Remember that good sales and marketing people will be as critical to success as the technologists.

- Protect your idea: if you have a marketable innovation, take intellectual property seriously and apply for patents where necessary. If you build your innovation using the work of others, consider their IP rights even for open source components.

- Work hard to win reference customers. Look for customers with a pressing need, and for those with their own track record for innovation. Often the public sector and academia despite a reputation for moving slowly can afford to take more risks than a commercial outfit.

- Don't ignore the role of people who will champion your innovation to others. A satisfied customer is the best but also consider industry analysts, systems integrators and consultants and the media, including bloggers. A business partnership with a large systems integrator or an existing vendor will open up marketing and sales support that a start up can only dream of. The large integrators have labs dedicated to understanding emerging technologies: convince them to hear your pitch, and your innovation has a much greater chance of success.

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