The 7 Laws of Competitive Innovation
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 9:03PM

[Excerts from an upcoming article... Stay tuned!]

— When to move ideas to implementation!

I’ve only had three great ideas in my lifetime.

Yet, these three were among hundreds of thousands if not millions of ideas that have crossed my mind. I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse, but I have enough vision to fill 100 lifetimes of innovation!

If you too are creative, then you don’t have a scarcity problem; you have a sorting problem. The 7 Laws of Competitive Innovation will guide you as you sort through the myriad of options to find the one right idea for you.

Or, if you’ve already settled on an idea—or evaluating one for investment—the 7 Laws will help establish strengths and uncover weaknesses, and even fatal flaws!

In my reality, Competitive Innovation is the pursuit of the right idea by the right people at the right time for the right reason. All other innovation is likely to fail. 

So, don’t just run with a seemingly good idea; run with the right idea, one that will advance you or your company along its path— regardless of whether you win or lose the battle of consumer/client adoption.

It is the “99% perspiration” that must be conserved, so do whatever it takes to get the vision right.


The 7 Laws

As you hold your ideas up to the prism of The 7 Laws of Competitive Innovation, look for significance. For instance, there’s always some need, profit potential, and competitive threat. The competitive advantage required of each law is a threshold issue, never a simple yes or no.

Your ideas should easily clear each and every hurdle, as these are the death traps that will prevent your baby for being born or doom it to a life of insignificance.

The art of innovation is to bring to market the right idea by right people at the right time for the right reasons. Innovation is most compelling when aligned with these four key advantages:

• Right idea—Perfected solution with a Potent advantage

Right source— Protectable solution from a Position of power

Right time— Profitable solution on Pace with market demand

Right reason— Driven by the Passion to effect change

Everyone buys the best products and services they can afford, but just what make them “best?”


The Right Idea...

#1: The Law of Perfection— Is the innovation the easiest, safest, fastest, simplest, and most practical, affordable, convenient, stylish solution, i.e. is it perfected? Why perfected? Everyone wants the best! Unless your innovation is as good as it gets, you're vulnerable.

Don’t confuse the pursuit of perfection with the nescience of “good enough.” A perfected vision is the vehicle that takes unassailable form.

Even the lowly, 50-cent can opener has been “perfected;” it’s as easy, safe, affordable, convenient, fast, simple, and practical as it can possibly be. It simply can’t be beat at utility, just style. Because it’s in final form, it's only vulnerability is disruption, not improvement.


#2: The Law of Potency— How well does your solution solve the problem? How important is the problem?

There's a need for everything. What matters here is the "need intensity," as new products guru, Thomas Kuczmarski puts it!

A little better solution to a little problem really doesn't matter, unless you’re sustaining current customers. A competitive solution should be massively better to entice customers to switch vendors in an existing market or to disrupt the market itself.


By The Right Source...

#3 Law of Protectability— Can the innovation be protected by IP, by being first, or both? If it can't be protected or you're not already disrupting the status quo, then leaders may love your idea, but who needs you? Market leaders buy IP and/or momentum, not ideas.

Anything that creates a barrier to entry is useful. Patent protection, for example, is like a 20-year lease of land rights; powerful, so long as it excludes others for setting up shop at the best locations. A key trade name may become the lingo used to suggest that you own the market itself, like Kleeex, Rollerblade, or Tylenol.


#4 Law of Position-- Are you a market leader or an outsider? Are you in— or can you get into— a position to effect change? Existing relations, reputation, competence, industry experience, capital, and integration into existing systems matter, both in design and deployment!

If you're not teamed with a market leader, then you had best be creating a disruptive, new market bypassing the gatekeepers! If you're going directly into "their" market without the benefit of established trust, see Law #3.


At The Right Time...

#5: The Law of Pace— Are you early or late to market? All great innovations come at right time. Painfully slow, but always in alignment with natural law. Equally vital is the anticipated pace of your competitors.

Timing is everything because the allure of success attracts all manner of competition. Too early and you won’t achieve financial sustainability. Too late and you’ll be entering the fray of a commoditized market. Too obvious and you’ll be fighting for your life even before the market builds!


#6: Law of Profitability— Besides pace, is your solution unique, valuable, irreplaceable, or unsubstitutable? Market size, solution scarcity, and business-model all matter.

Who's your competition? How big is the opportunity? Are you a cost or profit center? Are you offsetting costs that justify high margins? Is your business model “baked in,” as it may not be possible to add one later. Free is not a business model, unless it’s used as a tactic to promote consumer adoption or has other ties-ins.


For The Right Reasons...

#7 The Law of Passion— Even if an innovation clears all first 6 laws, is it aligned with your life's and company's mission? Is it so compelling that you would innovate for free?

You know the odds. Most ventures fail. You simply cannot afford to waste time, energy, or treasure doing something outside your life plan—especially as you age.

Let me end with the mission description I wrote for my ventures:

“We give tangible form to big ideas; ideas significant enough to disrupt the status quo and enhance the lives of those we serve. We aspire to not just lead markets but to create then -- if only for the sheer joy of achieving perfection beyond what exists in the world today. We aspire to make contributions that resonate far beyond ourselves and our lifetimes. Yet, our time here is short, so what we do on this day matters.

We affirm that inspired innovation begins within, as intuition. To become real, we must relentlessly act to prefect design, distribution, and promotion. Without form, even the greatest ideas remain “no thing,” so; Dream Big. Give Form. Drive Hard. Inspire others. Our volitions will vary, yet our vision remains the same: Bring big dreams to life!”

In short, only invent what matters!

Article originally appeared on Divine Elements; Dream, Believe, Love, Create (
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