More and more companies are discovering this Lean innovation either Lean startup can help them better streamline their innovation processes. Especially for totally new product development, the application of Lean innovation principles results in a more efficient and successful innovation pipeline.
In recent months, Francis-Paul Janssen of AOMB Intellectual Property (www.aomb.nl) and Joyce Oomen from Pimcy Innovation Management (www.pimcy.nl) answered the question in 7 parts how to combine Lean innovation with your IP strategy. In this last part, we summarize the most important things for you so that you have a guideline on how you do not lose sight of your IP with a Lean Startup method.
Our starting point at Lean IP is that we only record things that are really necessary and only when they are needed. More about this in part 1.
In the blog series we use a number of definitions, which are in part 2 are explained:
· Innovation is the successful realization of innovation, whereby the new product (or service) meets sales expectations.
· Lean Innovation is a method to systematically test and successfully market truly innovative ideas within a company, with the great advantage that you can innovate faster, cheaper and more successfully;
· Intellectual Property (IP) is a collective term for exclusive rights (such as patents, trademarks and / or designs) that individuals may possess on the results of their intellect and creativity;
· IP Strategy is the use of IP in such a way that it creates value for your company, for example by market protection, freedom of action, increasing value of the company, and / or making money;
· Lean IP in our opinion is the combination of Lean Innovation with IP strategy: you try to get information from your customer, without revealing your creation.
We, Francis and Joyce, have long cherished the dream of developing toys for children. And while brainstorming for this blog, we got in part 3 a great idea: we want to develop outdoor toys for children!
During a customer safari we observed our target audience in their own environment, and we noticed that many kids are busy with hoverboards. Based on a brainstorming session, we then came to the conclusion that we want to develop a hoverboard that can not only make horizontal movements, but also vertical ones!
Through the Lean Canvas of Ash Maurya, we see that our most critical assumption is that we will like the solution we have in mind. We test this with a so-called problem / solution interview, and it shows that the young people are indeed enthusiastic about a hoverboard that can jump.
By organizing IP research (part 4) We gain a lot of insight into the market and competition and we prepare for a possible patent application. We find, among other things, the “hoverboard patent”, which is valid in the US, and which we should pay attention to. And secondly, we do not come across the features of jumping that we want in the patent documents. So we have to get to work ourselves!
To arrive at one problem / solution fit we are already making some initial sketches and 3-D animations of what our jumping hoverboard could look like and how it would work. The first design is unfortunately not to the taste, but luckily we now know that quickly and without much expense. We decide on a new design: a sturdy scooter that can also jump. And we go through the above studies again. A second session shows that our “Fantoytic stepboard” is very popular.
Learn - Experiment
In the previous Discover phase, we have already learned a lot about our target group and our potential product. Based on that, we fit in part 5 our initial business model, and we start looking for one Minimum Viable Product ('cupcake' versus 'wedding cake'). To this end, we have set up a number of experiments:
We made one youtube video of a converted hoverboard, where we show with video editing what can be done with our Fantoytic stepboard;
· A landing page with which we can gauge interest in the product;
Start with a social media campaign via Facebook, Instagram and Google Adwords so that our target group can also find us.
During the test month we look at what is happening from week to week. We want to see if interest grows every week.
Because we have set clear standards, we also know when we can continue on the chosen path. For example, if the number of visitors is less than expected, or the number of clicks is less than expected, this means that we have to rethink the experiment.
Learn - Prototype and feedback
In part 6 we start working on prototypes and learn from the feedback from our customers.
We build one prototype. The biggest challenge is the jumping mechanism, for which we eventually find a smart way. The group of young people loves it! For the jumping mechanism we ask patent to the Netherlands.
To actually produce the prototype, a lot has to be done Kosten made. We have to look for it quickly investors, and are quickly thinking of crowdfunding these days. The campaign on Kickstarter is catching on, and we quickly raise the required amount.
Now that we have money, we can start with a small scale production. Our first batch of 1200 pieces will be sold exclusively via the internet. We continue to experiment to see whether our product remains popular and whether changes are needed. And if so, we implement it in our product.
Now we product market fit have it in part 7 time to start growing.
For the patent application, we are faced with the choice: where to apply for protection? The novelty report is mostly positive, the protection offered by the patent can hold back competitors.
Looking at the market, we see that we are not very successful in the US market. Fortunately, it does in Europe, but we have noticed that growth through this channel has stopped. Despite this uncertainty, we will eventually continue the patent in Europe and the US, thereby shielding at least 70-80% of our total market.
Crossing the chasm
“Crossing the chasm (1)” teaches us that the mass market places completely different demands on products than the early adopters. We must therefore ensure that we become more visible within our target group and achieve a substantial market share within the foreseeable future.
Of course we test every next step we take with our (new) customers. For example, we organize a youth event where we organize the early adopters sponsor and ask to show our new target group what is possible with our Fantoytic.
These events show that the new target group wants adjustments to the Fantoytic. We are designing a slightly modified variant: the Dutchie. The same technique, but a bit more solid, and with a tougher appearance.
According to Crossing the Chasm, you should choose your first market in such a way that if you win it for you, you can easily push through to linked markets. We apply this principle to our intended distribution channel: toy stores.
We make agreements for the sale of a small batch of Dutchies and Fantoytics through the toy stores. In this way we limit the risks. This is a great success, and we learn that the special designs are very popular, especially in the US!
However, it is important that we continue to improve our product based on feedback from our customers. In short, we continue to apply our lean startup principles, even if we are already successful.
We must continuously innovate and improve, product development and completely new business models. A balance between these three ensures that we can continue to be successful in the future.
(1) Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore, 2014
We, Francis and Joyce, have written this series with great pleasure. We hope you can apply the principles in daily practice. If you have any questions, you can reach us via the links below.
About the authors of this series
Senior European and Dutch patent attorney at AOMB IP Consultants (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Innovation accelerator | Innovation Portfolio Management Consultant | Owner Pimcy Innovation & Portfolio Management | (email@example.com)