Do your ideas have the ‘Right to Win’

Published by Grahame Cox on

I’ve often heard my fellow innovators say that coming up with ideas is the easy part of innovation. Coming up with good ideas is more difficult and coming up with great ideas, ideas that are going to drive sustainable growth, well that’s the difficult bit!
When looking to develop great ideas, it’s important to consider your ‘right to win’. By that I mean what it is about your idea that means your company is best placed to exploit it. There are many companies out there who choose the strategy of being a ‘market follower’: they scour the list of new innovations, watch markets around the world, looking for new product and service launches that have started to be successful that they can copy. Someone else has done the hard work: identifying the opportunity, developing the first products, creating a market for their product. Then they swoop in with a cheaper or better product, they outspend your marketing budget ………. and all of your hard work is lost! You created an opportunity for someone else.

If you don’t want your ideas to suffer the same fate, then you have to be clear on your ‘right to win’ and that can come from a number of sources: are you best placed to make this product? By that, I mean do you have capabilities that can’t be, or aren’t easily copied. Is your idea unique enough that you have a cast-iron patent that will stop anyone copying your idea. Your ‘right to win’ might be related to the fact that your innovation feeds off a core brand strength (part of the reason for the popularity of line extensions as an approach to innovation) or a particular manufacturing capability. Perhaps it is difficult to execute the idea and you are best placed to do that; it might be that you have particularly strong technical, marketing or sales capabilities. It might be that you have a large marketing budget and are able to outspend the competition. Perhaps you have unique access to the market for this product or are able to set up other significant barriers to new entrants. Perhaps your business can work on lower margins, meaning it would be difficult for a competitor to come into the market and undercut your position. Whatever it is, think carefully (and honestly – don’t fool yourself into thinking you are better than you are) about your ‘right to win’ and how you can sustain it so that you are able to reap the benefits of your innovation launch into the long term. If you have a genuine right to win, you are well on your way to having a great idea.