Innovative project - is it worth doing?

In two minds....

Perspectiva Solutions Sp. z o.o., Krzysztof Jakubczak

Probability of success

Well.... if you looked at the probability of success, the answer would be: NO!

Playing with innovations is highly risky stuff. If you look at the investment portfolio of wealthy people you might notice that the innovations are that last option where they put their money in. Why? That's simple. You don't want to invest your money in the most risky undertakings first.

But... on the other hand: safe business most of the time brings lowest return on investment (ROI). Once you did some "safe business" and you have some cash on your account you might want to consider doing something more risky but with much higher financial potential. Then the innovations come in.

An individual perspective

If you are a skillful person you are very likely to get an employment in a well established company. This will bring you considerable annual income that should be some basis for one of the aspects in the broader considerations. You have to be aware that if you want to build an innovative device or develop some new piece of software you would probably set up a startup. In the startup (provided you find an investor) you are very likely to earn less than in the enterprise. At least for a period of time until you have first customers and investors start seeing real potential in your venture. That may last. Typically it might be anything between 1 and 5 years (depending on specific aspects of the project). On the other hand, if you are successful doing a startup brings you potential to become a really wealthy person. This brings opportunity that most likely you would never see being an employee. You have to consider wether you are OK to accept some rough times for the chance of changing your life for better.

Secondly, there's a substantial number of people who apart from financial aspect will consider a missionary feelings. Simply, they might want to do "something more", "something big" or "something for the people" as I happen to hear from time to time. This is very strong, positive motivator. It's great when it's there.

A corporate perspective

Well established companies also have their challenges. One of the key is to answer the question: how do we maintain our market position? Basically the fundamental method how to do that is to deliver new products to their clients all the time. To make this happen lots of effort is consumed. Typically companies do 2 things to achieve this goal:

  1. run R&D projects within the organizations

  2. acquire the IP rights to innovative solutions from the market

Most of the time both options come into play at the same time. E.g. in pharmaceutical business about 70% of new products are based on intellectual property purchased from academia while resuming 30% is originating from own work.

To conclude, if you are an individual person that prefers peace and calm, low risk, rather safe income, then probably doing innovations is not the best option for you. On the other hand, if you think you might be a person with strong character, willing to accept challenges and risk then good. You are probably a good candidate for this job.

For the companies, I don't think there's any alternative option. They really have to work hard on new projects to sustain their business and to grow. Otherwise competitors will do that and will take over the initiative and position of the market leader.

The choice is yours!