In the last post, we saw that there are different types of risks in innovation projects. Let us see how far can we de-risk. And, how.
Risks are due to you not being able to predict the future course of things correctly. This assumes that the future course was predictable. E.g. the future of any third degree cancer is death. However, if you do not get yourself tested, you’ll never be able to prevent it from reaching third level and will surely die. The death was preventable, since it was predictable.
People usually do not make adequate efforts to find out explore the external factors surrounding their eco-system. They should.
Risks are also due to the fact that the the future course of a given situation is simply not predictable. Which way will the dice throw up is not knowable in advance. That risk has to be accepted.
Responsible people make it a practice to envisage all eventualities and plan for them. That prepares them better and the risk is minimized.
This is probably best illustrated by Andrew, a rock-climber, who did a solo ‘fingers and toes’ traverse of the front face of Table Mountain, Cape Town. Prior to making this traverse Andrew had thoroughly researched, practised and managed all the elements that might destabilize him. Failure had clear consequences.
Andrew had gone through a rigorous de-risking process before he ventured. Even you should.
Another technique of de-risking is through prototyping. Don’t progress your innovation in the confines of your mind or even your room. Don’t catapult the product straight from your mind or room to the market. You are NOT the buyer, someone else is. Why not check with him at successive stages of development of the product?
We will talk more of prototyping, its types and techniques, in subsequent posts.