02 Feb 2009

Is entrepreneurship about innovative ideas?

Recently, I attended a talk by famous management guru, Dr. C.K. Pralhad. In his talk, he said, "Entrepreneurship is about innovative ideas".

I personally do not agree with that statement. I believe entrepreneurship is 30% about innovative ideas and 70% about filling the gaps. To take my point further, I firmly believe that one does not need an innovative idea to start a venture. All you need is to find the gap and come up with your solution to fill that gap. Most of the businesses do that. Now this process may involve innovative thinking but I believe the percentage of innovative thinking is about 30%.

Think about the most successful entrepreneurs. Most of them did not start with any innovative idea.

1. Take Google: Google improved the online search which was already being done by Yahoo & Alta-Vista and others. They did use their innovative ideas; but 'search' (their main business) was not an innovative idea. They only improved the way it was being done (that is filling the gap!)

2. Take Microsoft: You all know the story of Microsoft. For the records sake, it wasn't Microsoft that invented the GUI (most of the people think it was Microsoft that brought the first GUI).

3. Take Virgin: It started with teenage, Richard Branson launching the 'Students' magazine. Wan't any innovative idea.

4. Take Dell: Started with Mr. Dell assembling computers in his dorm. Again, not any innovative idea.

Well, I believe more than ideas; the 'execution' is the big differentiator. You can take up any age old idea and execute it differently - and you can be a successful entrepreneur.

That's what I think. What's your take?
silverscorpion

silverscorpion

Branch Unspecified
03 Feb 2009
I couldn't agree more. Especially with the Microsoft issue, Apple lost hold of their excellent edge because of their urge not to let in third party vendors to their system. Microsoft allowed third party software and so, they got to the front in the wave..

But I also think that truly innovative and new 'ideas' have have ceased to exist for quite some time now. Every available business venture has been tried out. Well, in new technologies, there may be entirely new ideas. But other than that, everyone is trying to modify what others have already done before and get a bigger success than the previous try.

But still, I cant agree on 30-70 ratio. I think it should be about 50-50. However the idea may be old, we can innovate something in that too, and innovation and execution must go hand in hand.
shalini_goel14

shalini_goel14

Branch Unspecified
03 Feb 2009
I think if you are giving your ideas, you are giving someone chance to beat you back. At last, you are hitting yourself somewhere.
e.g. Google yahoo as mentioned above.

If you want to be innovative, then never leave a space for someone in it to hit you back. Make your innovation best of the best.😀
03 Feb 2009
One of the common mistakes entrepreneurs make is that they are reluctant to share their ideas. Most of the wannabe entrepreneurs think if they tell their ideas to others, others will steal their ideas and build successful businesses. No, that never happens.

I believe entrepreneurship is about sharing your ideas and executing them as a team. For that matter, your idea alone is not worth a single penny unless it is executed.

'Execution' is the name of the game.
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
03 Feb 2009
Well biggie, if thats the case, we wouldnt need patents 😉

Besides, innovation is not restricted to raw and unique "ideas". A process or technique can be considered an innovation too. Examples of Google and Dell are not "filling a gap" per se, but innovations in techniques or processes that gave them an advantage over existing competitors.

I hope that engineers focus on innovation at least. Without any critical thinking, I fear we'll reach the dark ages.
shalini_goel14

shalini_goel14

Branch Unspecified
03 Feb 2009
The_Big_K
I believe entrepreneurship is about sharing your ideas and executing them as a team.
You mean to say -thing is not being innovative but putting your efforts into its execution?

Well I think if my idea is not as good as my competitor's idea then definitely I will be hit back badly but on other side if it is BEST then how much effort that competitor put, he cannot beat me at any point of time.

Conclusion: Better to do something innovative but be careful that it is enough good that your competitor can never take advantage of ideas' limitations.
MaRo

MaRo

Branch Unspecified
03 Feb 2009
Thomas Edison - Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration

To entrepreneur is how you make your innovative idea works with all people, how to morph it in people's life & a need in their life.

The innovative idea not necessarily a brand new idea from nothing, it can be an idea to how to morph another idea into people's life.

Like When Xerox hated the Computer mouse, they hated it because they didn't have idea on how this will help people, this was what Apple did, they morphed the Mouse into people's life.
shalini_goel14

shalini_goel14

Branch Unspecified
04 Feb 2009
@Maro

Nice example, I completely agree with you. 😀
durga ch

durga ch

Communications
04 Feb 2009
The_Big_K
I personally do not agree with that statement. I believe entrepreneurship is 30% about innovative ideas and 70% about filling the gaps. To take my point further, I firmly believe that one does not need an innovative idea to start a venture. All you need is to find the gap and come up with your solution to fill that gap.
the 'execution' is the big differentiator. You can take up any age old idea and execute it differently - and you can be a successful entrepreneur.

Dont you think coming up with your own solution is innovativeness? Innovativeness as said doesnot imply making a discovery or an invention it's about filling the gap with your own solution
04 Feb 2009
durga
Dont you think coming up with your own solution is innovativeness? Innovativeness as said doesnot imply making a discovery or an invention it's about filling the gap with your own solution
No, coming up with your own solution is not innovation. I can come up with the solution that is years old, tried and tested.

Innovation, in my opinion, is creating/conceptualizing something that has not be done before using existing resources. That is also invention. Now let's not debate about difference between invention and innovation.

The point is; you can start a grocery shop and be an entrepreneur. But then to turn that grocery shop into a chain of grocery shops may require 30% innovation and 70 % execution. Know the Wal-Mart story?
gohm

gohm

Branch Unspecified
04 Feb 2009
I agree Biggie, though a small portion is about creating the spark, the majority of entrepreneurship is fanning the spark into a fire. Marketing, sales, developement, logistics, strategy.
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
04 Feb 2009
The_Big_K
Innovation, in my opinion, is creating/conceptualizing something that has not be done before using existing resources. That is also invention. Now let's not debate about difference between invention and innovation.
Ah, why not? The distinction is important in this context 😉
04 Feb 2009
Okay, answer this -

How many entrepreneurs do you know who have started their venture with an innovative idea? ;-)

[Don't count only the tech-entrepreneurs]
mayurpathak

mayurpathak

Branch Unspecified
05 Feb 2009
I remember a quote. "You might have 1000 ideas. But then they are useless if you are not able to convey them to people and follow it with right action." I dont remember who said it, but I think it was Lee Iaccoca

I believe innovation is the root of any business. As corporations, we strive hard to make that one little difference against what your competitor offers. That is what separates you from the competition.

Now to answer Biggie's question. Most businesses vow to start their operations claiming they are different or want to make the difference. If they dont differ in the range of products/services, they try to be innovative in their delivery and the execution model.

For ex. consider companies that sell petroleum products. They dont differ from each other, rather they cant. So companies try to innovate in the way they are sold. Remember Bharat Petroleum opening 'In & Out' grocery shops or Reliance converting their petrol pumps into drive in and sit in restaurants?

That is innovation!
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
05 Feb 2009
That is why the distinction between invention and innovation is important, Biggie. From your perspective, you are mixing innovation and invention together.

Innovation does not mean something brand new. In terms of entrepreneurship, as Mayur said, innovation is whatever steps, methods, processes, products or services you have that gives you the upper hand over existing competitors.

Basically, innovation is akin to creativity. Its thinking outside the box 😀 Whether its an assembly process, a design change, a marketing technique, etc.
integratdbrains

integratdbrains

Branch Unspecified
05 Feb 2009
Completely agree

Biggie one word for 'filling the gaps' is innovation. In other words thinking differently over an invented thing or fact or xyz is innovation. Innovation cannot be done without an invention. However innovative ideas can lead to invention. Invention is not a cup of tea for everybody, but innovation may be. For example one need not have technical knowledge but one can give innovative ideas. But one cannot invent anything without having the technical knowledge.

Innovation is traveling a traveled path differently whereas invention is traveling an untravelled path.

Disccusing over the topic hence- I believe that Innovation is required for being an entrepreneur. Because if you don't innovate you would not attract any clients/customers and hence it is equivalent to nothing for a wannabe entrepreneur.
😎
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
05 Feb 2009
*biggie is at loss of words*

...

*finally agrees with everyone else*
05 Feb 2009
😁

Sometimes, its better to keep mouth shut and keep ears/eyes open - that is the reason I'm was not posting.

To understand my point, you will have to look at entrepreneurship from a different angle. Mostly, I believe what you've on your minds is tech-startup. Most of the tech-starups start with new ideas. But that does not apply to most of the businesses. I took an example of grocer's shop. I may copy someone else's business ideas/processes and start & run a successful business in a different location. If you see, most of the businesses aren't based on innovation.

The guy who drops newspapers at my doorstep is an entrepreneur. What he does is simply done by thousands of others like him. I don't think his business has even a bit of innovation.

I can give you thousands of examples of businesses which are not based on innovation.

Need I say more?
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
05 Feb 2009
Ah, if you encompass the definition of entrepreneurship the point of the guy dropping newspapers, then anything goes 😛 I thought we were talking about ventures and all?

Besides, the 4 successful entrepreneurs you mentioned in your first post were tech based, so....

*grin*

(oh, you'd not need to say more!)
durga ch

durga ch

Communications
05 Feb 2009
The_Big_K
😁

Sometimes, its better to keep mouth shut and keep ears/eyes open - that is the reason I'm was not posting.

To understand my point, you will have to look at entrepreneurship from a different angle. Mostly, I believe what you've on your minds is tech-startup. Most of the tech-starups start with new ideas. But that does not apply to most of the businesses. I took an example of grocer's shop. I may copy someone else's business ideas/processes and start & run a successful business in a different location. If you see, most of the businesses aren't based on innovation.

The guy who drops newspapers at my doorstep is an entrepreneur. What he does is simply done by thousands of others like him. I don't think his business has even a bit of innovation.

I can give you thousands of examples of businesses which are not based on innovation.

Need I say more?
what if he takes help of 4 more people( helping is not new thing) and allocate each one with a area so that morning papers can be delievered before 7 am?


I guess every one is aware of DABBAWALAS of mumbai

They have a record of deleivering lunch packs to tens and thousands of people excalty at 12 pm.
Delivering boxes is not a new feat, but coming up with a innovastive idea and stratergy sure is .
durga ch

durga ch

Communications
05 Feb 2009
ash
Ah, if you encompass the definition of entrepreneurship the point of the guy dropping newspapers, then anything goes 😛 I thought we were talking about ventures and all?

Besides, the 4 successful entrepreneurs you mentioned in your first post were tech based, so....

*grin*

(oh, you'd not need to say more!)
eggactly.
:sshhh:
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
05 Feb 2009
*music*
Silence is golden, golden...

Though, I sense a return fire from the unfallable Biggie 😛 Happens when two types of opinions are polar to each other, mostly out of confusion.

At the risk of creating even more confusion, I'll try to "realign" our discussion before it goes off the rails.

We need to redefine the parameters of the arguments and derive possible conclusions.

I think the original argument was about having an "idea" (it is a subset of innovation), instead of being innovative in general. So, whether you need a new idea, or focus on an existing idea, the execution plays an important role too. Check.

Innovation includes doing anything that is unique or better than your competitors or predecessors. Thus, innovation includes execution as well, but it is not a superset of it. Check.

We can now distinguish from an idea that is innovative, or an idea that is existing. We can also distinguish an execution that is innovative, or an execution that is duplicate of another. Check.

We can state that existing ideas or execution might be patented, so it cannot be duplicated. Check (maybe).

So, basically, we can try assuming that there are four ways to be a successful entrepreneur. Innovative Idea + Innovative Execution, Innovative Idea + Old Execution, Old Idea + Innovative Execution and Old Idea + Old Execution. Check.

Thus, the type of successful entrepreneur you want to be depends on the market you are operating in. Check.

Now, there are a gazillion different types of markets and potential ones. We know that a market is defined as any place that has a buyer (demand) and seller (supplier). Each type of market (and subsequently their products) have its own unique characteristics. Check.

So.. I can personally conclude that, depending on what market you are targeting (or creating), how much of the ratio between an "idea" and the "execution" varies. We can also now add in the "innovative" factor for each. Since we are mentioning so many different scenarios.. from tech start ups to newspaper guys, there is no point in debating.

Lets just stick to one shall we? 😀 Pick a market.
05 Feb 2009
Agreed. I guess I messed with the 'innovation/invention' thing. Let's stick to 'innovation' here.

The concept of calling newspaper boy entrepreneur is not mine. I got that concept while attending a presentation by 'The Indus Entrepreneur' (TiE) Organization.

Ash & Durga have valid points and I don't deny. The examples I took were mostly tech-entrepreneurs [not Sir. Richard Branson; who got started with a magazine called 'Student'].

I have many examples of successful entrepreneurs who didn't do a single innovative [as in something 'new'] thing, yet built successful businesses.

That is why I say, entrepreneurship is not about innovative ideas.
mayurpathak

mayurpathak

Branch Unspecified
06 Feb 2009
Note: Me and Biggie mostly don't agree with each other's views 😀

Biggie, this time you are right. Entrepreneurship is not always about an innovative idea. Let us take CE for an example (although I agree that we are not a 'business' yet). The concept of forums existed. We (you) probably just took a cue from there and established this enterprise solely for engineers. That was innovation. Over the three years, we have come a long way. We have 32k members, we have teams, our activities are structured and most importantly, we now have others who understand and believe in our dream.

There was no innovative idea here. But the application of an old idea, the execution and the management was spot on!

Kudos!
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
06 Feb 2009
So.. in a sense, if there was no innovative action by Biggie, CE would not exist?

*grin*

I do concede with Biggie's point, too, that entrepreneurship is not ALL about innovative ideas. As a reminder though, it is strongly dependent on circumstances and target market. Since we are engineers here, we'd tend to be technologically biased. We all know that technology progresses at an exponential rate, thus new ideas play a key role.
integratdbrains

integratdbrains

Branch Unspecified
06 Feb 2009
I disagree Mayur... the concept of forum did exists but hasn't CE been innovative in projecting the forum in a different way? We see interviews with top engineers, the project lab, the CE avenger, we had the blog intially. We have tried all the ideas to be innovative. Because we understood that only providing a forum won't do. Its important to give more in order to make world better for living. And if we don't innovate then how would the 'better' word fit in?
I mean if I am getting 'C' for long time,i am accustomed to it, note that i am satisfied. But unless i get 'B' no one can say now its better. What is the difference if you are on the same platform as your competitors? Only a different market segment doesn't work magic! Because each market segment has different needs.Only catering to the needs is not sufficient in todays world.An Entrepreneur has to innovate because he has to face an informed market.
mayurpathak

mayurpathak

Branch Unspecified
06 Feb 2009
@integratdbrains: I'm not sure what are you disagreeing at. I think this is what I meant. I just said the idea was not innovative, thats it. By the way, welcome back to the forums. Hope to see your continued presence this time around.
06 Feb 2009
Now don't pull CE in! 😁

Concept of forums existed. Concept of engineers forum existed. We didn't do anything new. We are executing stuff (and so far quite successful) differently (from other engineering forums) and so we have survived.

this time you are right.
Come on. I'm always right! [ Muwahaha ]
mayurpathak

mayurpathak

Branch Unspecified
06 Feb 2009
The_Big_K
Come on. I'm always right! [ Muwahaha ]
This is a new debate topic 😁
Lumber Joe

Lumber Joe

Branch Unspecified
01 Apr 2009
Agree. Entrepreneurship is 30% about new ideas and the rest is finding profit opportunities.
01 Apr 2009
For me - Entrepreneurship is succesful execution of the innovative ideas. There are million people on the earth who have trillions ideas, but there are onle a few who executes them succesffully and those are the true entrepreneurs.

Look at Biggi ... He is among the one 😁

-Crazy
Lumber Joe

Lumber Joe

Branch Unspecified
02 Apr 2009
crazyboy
For me - Entrepreneurship is succesful execution of the innovative ideas. There are million people on the earth who have trillions ideas, but there are onle a few who executes them succesffully and those are the true entrepreneurs.

Look at Biggi ... He is among the one 😁

-Crazy
I guess success of entrepreneur to large extent is based on luck. Of course knowledge, expertise and intuition are important factors, but I have seen many times that people did not succeed in some business, while other did, but those others were not cleverer or more experienced.
Saandeep Sreerambatla

Saandeep Sreerambatla

Branch Unspecified
27 Apr 2009
I believe that the idea may or may not be innovative but the process of implementing the idea should be innovative then our business grows.
ms_cs

ms_cs

Branch Unspecified
27 Apr 2009
crazyboy
For me - Entrepreneurship is succesful execution of the innovative ideas. There are million people on the earth who have trillions ideas, but there are onle a few who executes them succesffully and those are the true entrepreneurs.

Look at Biggi ... He is among the one 😁

-Crazy
I agree with you😀
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
01 May 2009
Well, one thing I can tell you.. depending on what you do, its quite hard to be an entrepreneur during studies 😛

I guess you'll need dedication to successful execution of ideas.
Prasad Ajinkya

Prasad Ajinkya

Branch Unspecified
07 May 2009
What Biggie said is on the dot. Entrepreneurship is about finding a gap and fulfilling it. It may or may not be linked to Innovation.

To put it succinctly, it is about making a difference.
07 May 2009
ash
Well, one thing I can tell you.. depending on what you do, its quite hard to be an entrepreneur during studies 😛

I guess you'll need dedication to successful execution of ideas.
Dude - Know the story of Google? Two PHD folks - a project - evolves into a startup - then into a billion dollar company that rules ...

No excuses.
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
08 May 2009
No excuses? Not everyone in this world are like them, Bill gates, or [insert popular entrepreneur whoever had a unique history regarding college] 😉

I don't know how you managed in your final year of studies, but I'm totally pressed for time. I do have a small business with friends, but all of us are so busy with our studies that things are progressing too slow. It would be much easier if we had pursued something that aligns with your interests and field of study.. which is one of the reasons Sergey Brin pulled it off quite well.
08 May 2009
Well, maybe you should drop out 😛 . College drop outs notoriously amass wealth in the long run.

I'm just joking 😀 . You can very well start working on your venture once you graduate.
08 May 2009
ash
No excuses? Not everyone in this world are like them, Bill gates, or [insert popular entrepreneur whoever had a unique history regarding college 😉
They were human being even you are human being...

They were drop outs, you manage to continue.. what's extra was there in them which is not in you. Probably a bit of extra confidence and their strong desire to do the things. Ash Boy !!! have beleif in yourself.. if you have desire you can do better then those legends.

-CB
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
09 May 2009
Actually, my point is not to compare yourself to them 😉 My original post said it is hard to do business and study at the same time.. not impossible. Its true, is it not?
10 May 2009
Yes, it is difficult but not impossible.

By the way, do we have any student-entrepreneurs on CE? It would be interesting to hear their story!

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