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LEAD Innovation Blog

Read our latest articles on innovation management and innovation in a wide range of industries.

Date: 21-Aug-2019
Posted by: Michael PUTZ

When is the right time to start an innovation activity?

Being in the market with an innovation too early or too late costs money. The question of the right time for an innovation is therefore crucial. In this article, you can read how Roadmapping can help you answer this important question.

Innovation Roadmap connects past and future

The Innovation Roadmap is a very useful tool for developing an innovation strategy. It combines knowledge from the past with trends of the future to identify innovations with the prospect of market success and to determine the right time to start an innovation activity.

Case Study Strategic Innovation management


1. Consideration of the past

Roadmapping is an intensive process of looking at your company's past in order to find out how long it takes on average to develop an innovation with a certain degree of innovation and a certain type of innovation. Those innovations that have brought market success in the past are shown graphically on the LEAD innovation family tree. From past experience, you can then deduce how long you will need - if you start developing the innovation today - before you can again appear on the market with a comparable innovation.

2. Future assessment

The future is considered within the framework of the road mapping by means of a detailed trend analysis and classification of the trends on a trend timeline. From your individual trend universe, you can then deduce when the market will reach the tipping point - i.e. the critical point where the demand curve will increase exponentially.

3. Matching determines the right time for innovation

In combination with the trend and needs development of the future, the LEAD innovation pedigree provides important insights for future innovation projects. As soon as you know when the demand curve will increase exponentially and how long it will take you to develop a corresponding innovation, you can decide when to start development activities. This is the right time to start an innovation activity within a search field.


After 100 years, the scooter makes the breakthrough

The example of the scooter shows how long the development of an innovation and the actual market success can lie apart. As early as 1915, the American manufacturer Autoped Company produced a scooter conceived as a children's scooter. In 1921 production was stopped again. In Germany, the Krupp scooter is regarded as one of the first scooters in Germany. From 1919 it was sold by the Fried. Krupp engine and motor vehicle factories. But the Krupp scooter was not able to assert itself either. The sales figures were limited, the time for scooters had not yet come. It was not until 100 years later that we experienced a real scooter boom.


Picture: Motorized Krupp scooter (https://images.app.goo.gl/g6ZK4TkRk2MfcTzQA) 


Conclusion: The right time for innovation

For your innovation management, the roadmap is not only a central instrument for deriving search fields, but also for determining the right time for an innovation. It combines strategy with operational innovation management and gives clear indications as to where the innovation journey should go and when the innovation activity should optimally be started.

Strategic Innovation Management

Image Source Title picture: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/uhr-armbanduhr-zeit-zeitpunkt-1208200/

Michael PUTZ

Born in the Salzkammergut. After working for Shell and Porsche, he concentrated on innovation management as a study assistant at the Innovation Department of the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. In 2003 he founded LEAD Innovation and manages the company as Managing Partner. Lectures at MIT, in front of companies like Google or NASA.

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