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The Final Puzzle: Seeing the Deal and Dealing With the Unforeseeable

The following two sections will discuss these two steps to deal with potential failures. First, I will talk about what can be done to anticipate predictable failures and how you can avoid such failures through proper planning. Second, I will talk about the unexpected crises that inevitably occur in all small-business enterprises, and what you can do to resolve these effectively as they occur.

Anticipation and planning – the keys to avoid

predictable failures

George Santayana, the early 20th century Spanish philosopher once wrote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This phrase and the numerous variations that we hear and repeat daily provide the main impetus behind my own love for the study of history. I am not drawn to the rote memorization of historical dates and facts, but rather the interpretive study of historical figures and events. I find in these people and their experiences a wealth of insights into the present and perspectives on the future. By this point in the book, you have doubtlessly figured out that I like history, and hopefully you have come to appreciate how looking backwards in time is a good way to see the path forwards.

Inspired by such an historical perspective, in this section I want to talk about predictable failure scenarios for small product innovation companies – the somewhat common ways in which such companies fail. More importantly, I want to discuss how such failures can be avoided through proper planning. In general, these predictable failures do not depend greatly on the particular product or market niche being served by the company. Rather, these failures tend to result from the basic evolutionary process that all companies undergo, and the essential dynamics of interacting with other companies within the business world. So the discussion here assumes no particular type of product or market, and should apply reasonably well to all products and markets.

First, I wish to talk about the potential predictable failure scenarios that result from inadequately addressing any of the five pieces of The Inventor’s Puzzle described within this book. Indeed, as explained in Chapter 1, these five pieces of The Inventor’s Puzzle were specifically constructed to address potential predictable failures that typically occur


The Inventor’s Puzzle, Copyright © 2009 by Mark Lake

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