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Patrick Talks Steps to Smart Ideation on Killer Innovations Podcast with Phil McKinney

Smart Ideation Phil McKinney

Steps to Smart Ideation

Smart ideation is a five-step process for entrepreneurs and business owners building a growth company that I recently talked to Phil McKinney about here.  The process focuses on business factors rather than simply developing the product.  My book, Plan, Commit, Win: 90 Days to Creating a Fundable Startup, lays out the framework for smart ideation. Although the book talks a lot more in detail about this process and what it really takes, this simple list shows you the basics when it comes to smart ideation. You can dive deeper into this process within the book and through my smart ideation guide at

The steps are as follows:

  1. Customer Problem Solution TestThis test answers three questions:
    • Is it a big and important problem for the customer?
    • Is the customer desperate to solve the problem?
    • Is my solution superior to alternatives?
  1. Sustainable Competitive Advantage TestOnce you answer yes to the questions in #1…
    • How do you sustain business growth over time?
    • What is your innovation roadmap for the next five to ten years?
    • Can your core technology penetrate adjacent product market segments?
    • Can you build layers of competitive advantage?
  1. The Intersection Test
  2. Facing the challenges to scale your business, you need an intersection of
    • Passion
    • Domain expertise – specialized product and market knowledge
    • A big customer problem
    • A team who can execute
  1. The Market Size and Growth Test
  2. Applies to businesses funded by venture capital
    • Success or failure hinges on this
    • Must determine growth opportunity in your target market
    • Penetrate a defensible niche, then conquer adjacent markets
    • Have a big long-term vision to scale your business
    • VCs looking for upwards of $100 million in annual revenue
  1. The Idea Refinement Test  Three ways to refine your idea.
    • Through intimate customer engagement
    • Through a technical and business advisory board that will provide unbiased feedback
    • Through teaching customers willing to provide feedback early on in exchange for some exclusive benefit

Check out the Killer Innovations podcast here to see the rest of the story, where I talk a bit about the qualities of a successful ideator, and how you can get involved further with Killer Innovations as they sweep across the nation talking to successful innovators!