Determining Innovation's Sweet Spot


Now more than ever, companies need great new ideas, great new products and great new businesses.

However, innovators often fail to realize just how big the difference is between them. For example:

  • Satellite radio is a fabulous idea, and Sirius is great product, but what a terrible business.
  • Gillette Fusion isn’t a great idea – but is a great product and a great business.
  • In its heyday, Dell computer was a great idea and a great business, but its products weren’t that special.

The Holy Grail is ascending the pedestal reserved for the great idea/great product/great business triumvirate. Contemporary triple-players include American Idol and Guitar Hero. We’re also excited about Google’s Chrome Operating System and eager to see how the monetization of cloud computing plays out.

Understanding commercial realities at the onset of every innovation project is crucial to delivering those great ideas that become great products and great businesses.

It begins by determining where to play.

Innovators must uncover gaps in the current market. And, more importantly, decide whether there is a market in those gaps:

  • If the answer is “no”, that is not defeat. Getting to a fast “no” is invaluable for improving innovation’s ROI. Which is why determining where to play is a Phase One priority.
  • If the answer is yes, we call that a sweet spot for innovation. And we get to work creating those great ideas that become winners where it counts – in market.

For a lighthearted look at “Innovation’s Sweet Spot,” please check out this video:


Mark Payne is President and Head of Innovation at Fahrenheit 212 in New York. Fahrenheit 212 delivers bigger ideas, faster to market.

Mark Payne

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