Tiina Apilo @TiinaApilo
Ideas and inventions are not yet innovations, but concepts which can lead to innovations. Without experimentation, you cannot simply know what will work and what will be in demand. In addition, markets are changing rapidly. These three issues lie in the background of the new business acceleration model we have developed. When we began developing the model, we defined finding the right markets as quickly as possible as the objective of our approach.
Background of the accelerate model
Our research team already had much experience of developing innovation, business activities, products and industrial services for established companies, from the perspective of the engineering industry and ICT enterprises. When seeking a short-cut to analysing the acceleration process, we looked to the fast experimentation approach taken by startups, as referred to by Eric Ries in the Lean startup discussion. We combined these elements into general innovation success factors, service-dominant logic, the open innovation perspective and, in particular, the creation of a customer and user experience. The popular and simple business model building blocks developed by Ostewalder et al. and their newer versions form an integral part of the basic tools in our Accelerate model. We also sought inspiration from growth hacking, word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) and the application of design thinking.
Multipurpose Accelerate model
“Whether it’s an existing business activity, or a genuinely new idea which is being spun off, the same process always applies in principle”
When developing the Accelerate model, we took the acceleration of new businesses by ICT firms as a starting point. However, we still tried to create a model that would also be adaptable to other sectors. Big established companies, small companies, internal startup-type trials within both, and new companies were among the enterprises represented in our research consortium. Experiences of the model’s application demonstrated its suitability for new business development in companies of all sizes and ages. The model helped established companies to accelerate their product and service development projects and make them more customer and user-based. It helped startups, which have limited resources and time, to focus on the right things at the right time. As a bonus, the companies also deemed the approach suitable for boosting old business operations. One comment was as follows: ”The same practices and indicators can be used to accelerate existing products.”
The purpose of the Accelerate model
”Phases, they give you some kind of a reference frame about what is important to do in your phase.”
The goal of the Accelerate model is to help companies accelerate the commercialisation of their innovations through an iterative process. We have attempted to describe the iterative process using the above cycle. Unfortunately, in this highly simplified illustration we were unable to visualise the iteration rounds contained within phases. So what do these four phases, Idea, Problem-Solution fit, Product-Market fit and Scaling actually mean? They illustrate the issues and level of precision on which a company should focus at each phase of business development. We use them to show that there is no point in devoting too much attention to issues such as the finalisation or pricing of a solution at the very beginning, when the focus should be on understanding the problem space. We formulated a question which the company should be able to answer during each phase. The companies involved in piloting made an excellent observation: ”This is more of a rolling, continuous process than a series of stages involving passing through one gate to another.” In other words, this is not a new stage-gate model for product development.
In the Accelerate project, we developed a model which is also a European ITEA project coordinated by VTT. See the following websites for further information on the project and its results:
You can test the maturity of your company’s new business idea by using a self-assessment test based on the Accelerate model. You will find the test here.
The quotes are comments from companies, given in validation interviews for the Accelerate model, on their own business acceleration stories.