A great idea or new knowledge?

There are so many great ideas about and yet many will never become commercial businesses. A great sounding idea may be novel but is it actually “new knowledge”?

“New knowledge” can only be proven through objective, repeatable experiments that prove or disprove a defined hypothesis. If an expert can predict the outcome, without the need for experimentation, then it is not “new knowledge”.

Remember, just because the idea is new to you, does not mean that it is new to everyone!

The discovery of “new knowledge” opens several opportunities to you:

  • Developing intellectual property protection such as a patent.
  • Access to Research & Development Tax Incentives.
  • Government assistance for certain technology development.
  • Provides a key criterion that investors often expect.
  • Generates a potentially valuable asset for your business.

Easier said than done!

Getting an idea all the way through to become a commercial reality can be challenging and costly.

There are smarter ways to go about this, so that you spend your valuable time and cash wisely.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Check if your project qualifies for an R&D Tax Incentive. Projects may be eligible if the core and supporting activities demonstrate that “new knowledge” is being generated.
  • Minimise the time and cost of your development phase by using a predefined R&D program. This is the most efficient way and a good R&D program requires a disciplined approach. Plan your development program rather than jump into ad hoc development. The ad hoc approach seems faster but it can take longer and you might miss critical points. Outline your set of hypotheses and then construct experiments to prove or disprove them.
  • Produce prototypes and test “Minimal Viable Products” to minimise your costs and time.Review your experimental results and if necessary, “pivot” the project toward a new direction. Evolve the development toward a successful outcome.
  • Eliminate potential bias in interpreting your results too favourably.  Ensure the experiments and their results are repeatable.Test samples against a “control sample” and only test one variable at a time.Use competitors’ products as a “control sample” to show how your idea is better.
  • Keep thorough records of the experimental work, results and of course costs. Your records could be physical notebooks, documents, photos, video, audio etc. Make sure you keep the records in a logical, organised and professional way. Use these to prove your product, recover costs and add to your knowledge asset base.
  • Do not stick doggedly to ideas if the evidence does not support them. Be agile in your thinking and look for ways to use the information that you learn through R&D. New product development should be a dynamic process. A rigorous development programme demonstrates to investors that a product is robust.

Raising money is not easy.

Investors are spoilt for choice, especially with the plethora of technology-based start-ups aimed at disrupting current supply chains.

Physical products can now stand out in the market for investors, as a diversification from tech offerings.

Contrary to popular belief, many investors are sophisticated in their approach and scrutinise opportunities to pick those most likely to give the required return on investment.

Prepare the things that investors will look for and use a good R&D programme to help.

Keep the commercial development up to date alongside the product development. This ensures that your idea is commercially attractive. If your product costs start to increase, revisit the R&D program and look for a revised method to keep an attractive margin.

Consider the whole Business Model Design as a new product is also a new opportunity for fundamental change.

There are some things to do early on  and somethings NOT to do.

Ensure that your idea is properly protected under confidentiality agreements before you discuss it with anyone. If  your idea leaks into the market or to competitors, this may prejudice your patent application.

Determine which are your best potential markets and secure patent protection in them.

Get good advice early as it will serve you well in the long run.

If you would like to know how we can help with turning your ideas into a business, please contact brendan@lindfieldpartners.com.au or call 0401018282.


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