Some listeners to the show have confused “patience” with “timing”. When I say patience, I’m talking about the need for organizations to be willing to invest time, money and resources over an extended period of time to take an idea and turn it into an innovation.
Timing is about knowing when to launch the innovation into the marketplace. As I’ve said many times, the difference between and good idea and a great idea is the timing.
There are three (3) scenarios that play out when it comes to timing:
- You find yourself educating the market before it’s ready. Given that you are educating the market, you are also helping potential competitors since they won’t need to invest that money.
- You are over optimistic as to the timing and build up the team and burn rate in anticipation of wide acceptance. The result is a significant over investment that puts you on the radar of your management team.
- You are #3 or #4 in the market.
- The marketplace pegs you as being “me to” and looks to you as the low cost competitor.
- You spend time and money playing catch-up and never secure a market leadership position.
Just Right (Goldilocks solution)
- The customers recognition of the problem and the availability of your solution are aligned.
- Market awareness and urgency are emerging but not yet peaked.
- You are ready NOW (immediately) to fulfill the need.
In a perfect world, you would hit the timing just right. In reality, top companies who are viewed as being excellent at market timing never get it perfect. They are either a little early or a little late. The objective is to get it closer than your competitors.
The Four Steps To Market Timing
1) Be ahead of the market
You should be looking ahead 2x your typical development cycle. If it takes you 2 years to create and launch a product, your innovation team should be looking 4 years out. This allows you to create an opinion and be ahead of the market rather than playing defence.
2) Be disciplined NOT to over invest
Don’t let the passion and excitement drive your investment decision. Keep your costs low and keep moving forward while the market gets ready.
3) Identify and track the weak signals
Identify 4 to 6 early indicators (weak signals) that the market is forming and then put a process in place to track each indicator.
4) Be ready to jump
Create detailed scenarios and plans for each indicator so that when its triggered, you know exactly what to do.