Formulating ideas and composing production plans are necessary steps in
the innovation process. However, they dont always result in success. In
their efforts to produce and then distribute their invention to a broad
market, inventors often stumble across frustrating and potentially
The innovation model in Canada is based on
profitability, and locating funding is arguably the most important and
most difficult step in the innovation process. Building a prototype,
paying developers and inventors, purchasing advertising, conducting market
researchall of these activities require money and resources. Securing
external funding can be difficult, as innovation is often associated with
financial risk and requires a degree of foresight. Unless supported by the
provincial or federal government, there must be consumer demand and
industry interest for an innovation to be successful. Venture capitalists
and financiers are sources of private investment, but the government also
provides financial incentives. In Alberta, there are numerous resources to
help innovators find sources of funding to advance their projects
including the grant councils that support research and innovation.
The management of funding is also a challenge.
Understanding how to allot money to specific tasks during development
requires knowledge and skill. Project management skills are critical for
ensuring that a project moves forward on time and on budget. To assist in
this phase, innovators can contact a number of different independent
sources for assistance with their research and development work. Innovation Canada provides links to various government and private
If the obstacle of funding is overcome, innovators must
also face challenges within their organizational culture. Employees and
management must be convinced of the benefits of an innovation and
committed to its success if it is to succeed. A lack of communication,
instability, fear of change, an absence of information and/or training
can cause resistance. Work environments that are rigid, and not open to
new ideas can cause new ideas to stagnate.
An organization or entrepreneur must also have an
understanding of the relevant technologies needed to construct and
implement their invention. For instance, if the owner of a chain of ice
cream stores decides to develop a piece of software to control inventory,
they must ensure that their organization has the hardware and manpower
available to introduce this new technology. A company must be willing to
commit the resources to either find qualified employees or develop the
skills of their existing staff.
A sluggish economy can also be a barrier to innovation.
If industries experience losses in existing areas, they may be resistant
to investing in new areas. Likewise, disputes over patent rights and
licensing can prevent inventions from ever reaching the market, or
creating such a delay the innovative appeal is reduced.
Not all inventors can be entrepreneurs, and not all
organizations will be successful at introducing innovations. However, by
doing their homework and researching existing innovations, markets,
investors and technologies, inventors can streamline the process and
increase their chances for success.
"Lies an Entrepreneur Told me" by Dr. Paul Kedrosky
"Getting into Hot Water for Fun and Profit" by Adam Bello
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