In the other blogs as part of this series, I’ve introduced innovation, discussed how to generate innovative ideas and explored why failure is an important part of the process. Today’s topic is timing and how it can make or break the success of your innovation.
Webvan (an online credit and delivery grocery business) managed to raise £850 million to launch which it promptly spent and then sunk without selling anything. As proved later by the success of other online delivery offerings, this was a fantastic innovative idea but consumers just weren’t ready to buy into this service offering.
Dodgeball.com launched mobile social networking but the technology wasn’t ready to support the innovation. iPhones didn’t exist so it ran via text messages which made it very clunky and the audience just wasn’t ready to embrace mobile social networking. Dodgeball was bought by Google in 2005 and founder, Dennis Crowley, went on to be Executive Chairman of Foursquare – a great example of how failure builds innovation.
One of the crucial tests with customers is not just whether they think your idea is a good one but whether they are actually willing to buy it – there’s quite a leap in customer psychology between liking something in theory and investing their time or money in practice.