Why every entrepreneur needs an innovation plan

Why every entrepreneur needs an innovation plan

Startup companies differ from traditional businesses in two characteristics:

  1. They aim at developing a viable business model around an innovative product or service, oftentimes to disrupt traditional markets.
  2. They seek rapid growth, sometimes with the aim of selling the company after a few years.

In the early stages, a startup typically does not own significant “real” business assets, such as production machinery, raw materials or inventories.

Instead, the value of a typical startup is almost entirely based on its innovation potential, which is embodied in “soft” assets such as know-how, technology concepts, or branding.

Without proper management and protection, these intangible assets cannot be owned and controlled — “Thoughts are free”.

It therefore strikes me as odd how many entrepreneurs focus entirely at all sorts of plans:

  • a business plan
  • a (lean) product development plan
  • a marketing plan
  • a growth plan

… but do not think about planning and managing their most important resource: their innovation assets.

Intellectual property rights are one way of transforming these intangible innovation assets into concrete business assets that can be owned, valuated, sold and rented — hence the name intellectual property.

It should thus go without saying that every entrepreneur needs to have a plan to turn the startup’s intangible innovation assets into well-defined intellectual property to maximize its business value.

When properly planned and managed, the startup’s intellectual property gains immediate business value. This can in turn lead to significant benefits, which I will cover in one of the next articles.

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book The Startup Patent Toolbox. Check out the table of contents with links to sample chapters as the book evolves.

Originally published at bastianbest.com on August 30, 2017.