Circle #3: Successfully Communicating (and Profiting from) What You Have Come Up With

And so, we come to the last circle. We feel ambivalent about putting it last. On the one hand, placing communication/commercialization at the end of the innovation process is a good thing. Logically, this is where it must go because its purpose is to link the huge market need (Circle #1) to the idea that is going to fill it (Circle #2). And by definition it can’t possibly do that until you have the other two circles firmly in place. Communication is the piece of the puzzle that ties everything together. It explains to people that you have solved a big problem they have, and once they understand that, they will line up (at least metaphorically) to give you their money or in the case of cause-driven organizations, their emotional capital. That’s no small point. Yes, the fundamental reason for linking need, idea, and communication is to make the innovation process work as well as it can. But the real purpose is to make your organization successful. To do that, communication must be the last step in the process.

On the other hand, we feel it can be a mistake to put communication last. Not because it should go earlier in the process—as we just saw it can’t—but because by making it the final thing we deal with, there is a natural tendency to be tempted to rush through it. Your thinking might go, “we have done the hard part, having identified the need and a way to fill it. Now let’s go to ...

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