The Department of Defense and NASA often work together to test innovative technologies in the private sector. A number of these innovative technologies become part of military and space research centers. Some of these are used in aircraft carriers, and they may even someday be used to take humans to Mars. Other technologies get their start in academic research centers. This process can take on many different names, such as R&D in Commercialization, Commercial Research, and Development Process Improvement, or CMMI for short.
One of the things that the United States has done well in innovation – and in making sure that we remain competitive in this area – is encouraging the flow of human capital. The country’s skilled workers have been the key to our success in many different industries, and this includes the innovation processes that we use in business. The best innovation projects happen when the best human minds are involved. The best companies, which are run by highly skilled human capital, can sometimes out innovate even the most experienced corporations.
In order to encourage business innovation, businesses must carefully consider the types of innovations that they should be focusing on. There are a number of business categories that tend to see quite a bit of innovation ideas. These include market segments where demand is high and competition is high. These include computer and technology industries, which tend to see a lot of disruptive innovation in any one area. Some sectors that see a lot of corporate innovation ideas include biotechnology, energy, health care, and financial industries.
On the other end of the spectrum are business category prospects with low demand but high competition. Sometimes it makes sense for innovators in these situations to focus on relatively low-risk endeavors. Examples include start-ups that are trying to find new ways to bring products to market that are less established than their competitors. On the other hand, some innovators who look for larger innovations may need to abandon areas where the market is strong in favor of taking a shot in the dark. Horizon 1 ideas often do not involve companies at the top of their field; instead, they generally represent smaller companies that are looking to capitalize on emerging trends.
One might also ask the question “what about venture capital?” The simple answer would be to look into doing something different – but this answer is complicated by the fact that there are many ways for an innovator to raise venture capital. One popular method is to pursue projects that make use of high-tech equipment or machinery. In some cases, venture capital investors have been known to provide start-up funding for relatively mundane technological innovations.
To be sure, there are always going to be challenges that face innovators as they seek to launch new ventures. In fact, the key to being able to identify problems early is to look for examples of what other companies have done before getting in a similar situation. This is why it is so important to work with a qualified venture capital investor if you are looking for a venture to fund. An experienced manager will be able to point out a number of viable products that have already captured market share and which are following sound business models.