Most business plans deal with innovation. The innovation does not have to be rocked science, nor does it have to be disruptive (and probably it better not be). But if there is no innovation at all, why do you expect to be successful with your business?

Innovation usually falls in one of the following 4 categories:

  • Market innovation (new market for an existing product)
    • Oppening a supermarket in a town where there is no supermarket yet.
    • Mobile telephony introduced to the prepaid market in the late 1990s
    • Mobile telephony as a mass market product in India, in 2004-2005.  Do you know that in India, a country with a population of 1.3bn people, there were less than 10m mobile users at the end of 2003?
  • Product innovation (new product for an existing market)
    • Back in the early 1990, GSM mobile phone (with roaming etc) were very, very innovative
    • In 2007, the iPhone from Apple was a very innovative product (touch screen, hardly no button). This might even have been the first smart phone that was really smart
    • Manufacturing of ice.  Do you know that in the 19th centures, Boston (MA) was a major centre of export for ice cut from rivers and lakes? The ice would be exported by ship as far as India – no kidding. Until the ice maker and the freezer were invented.
  • Process innovation
    • Made-on-demand publishing
    • Self check-in terminals at airports (OK, there is a product innovation as well)
  • Business model innovation
    • Outsourcing network operations to a supplier
    • Tower Companies
    • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)