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

in product innovation businesses. By definition, addressing these issues thoroughly and adequately in your own enterprise is certain to help you avoid many of the usual scenarios in which such businesses tend to fail.

Failure to adequately address the five pieces of The Inventor’s Puzzle described within this book will likely lead to a failure of your enterprise – either immediately, or more likely down the road and after you and your investors have made a substantial investment in the enterprise.

For example, assume that you didn’t do a good job of understanding what the customer wanted in your product (i.e., you failed to adequately address the issues described in Chapter 3), you will experience a predictable failure in your business after you have gone through all of the other steps (Chapters 4 through 7) and introduced a product in the market that simply isn’t bought! This is a very late-stage failure that was rooted in an early-stage miscue.

Similarly, if you fail to secure a solid IP position around your product (Chapter 4), but succeed in all other issues presented in Chapter 3 and 5 through 7, you can expect to fail after you have introduced a very successful product and when the competition learns that they can steal your ideas and make money with them! This is an even later-stage failure that would have also been rooted in an early-stage miscue.

Alternatively, if you fail to lay out a proper product-development program (Chapter 6) or build the right team (Chapter 7), you can expect your enterprise to fail at some point within the product-development process, usually when you encounter a technical snag that was not anticipated and results in intolerable cost growth or outright failure of the design. Finally, if you fail to secure proper funding at any phase of your enterprise (Chapter 5), you can expect your enterprise to fail the instant that the last funding increment dries up!

In addition to the model offered within this book, I also would like to point you at two other well-known business models that have achieved a degree of success in helping entrepreneurs avoid predictable failures. The first alternative model is not specific to product innovation

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


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