The new startups as well as existing organizations are creating new innovative products, solutions and services using hackathons, innovation bootcamps and innovation hubs and innovation competitions to support innovators of all types. These innovative startups are run by Technopreneurs.
Technopreneurs can be any age group of people from diverse background with radical ideas that can, create new solutions to existing problems, create new solutions for addressing future needs, create innovative products, solutions & services that can disrupt the existing industry, sector and market segments.
The process of becoming a technopreneur requires technopreneurs to know about what problem they are trying to solve, what is their value proposition, who are their primary customers, what assets and resources will be required, how will the funding and investments be taken care as well as what will be the time to market and product roadmap.
There are several other important areas to check (e.g., competitors, regulatory compliance etc.) for a successful technopreneurship. It is easier said than done as often the devil is in the details and you require a lot of time to think through all the details.
The technopreneur’s journey starts with the following framework,
1. Create a Lean Value Proposition Canvas – Detailing out each area and segment of the business and answering the most important questions that matter most to start.
2. Refine Value Proposition – The value proposition can then be refined by presenting it to various stakeholders and taking their point of views in account.
3. Apply Design Thinking – The next stage is to use an ideation workshop to initiate design thinking steps and execution for creating ideas, validating them and creating rapid paper prototypes, brainstorming and seeing the product from the best and worst customer’s point of views using surveys and interviews. This stage could take some time unless it is planned and timeboxed in a manner that will work well.
4. Update Value Proposition – The outputs and feedbacks received from Design Thinking stage can be fed back to further strengthen the value proposition and making it more crisp with every round of updates. Finalize the Mission, Vision, Purpose and end to end value chain.
5. Build Roadmap, Blueprint and Secure Stakeholder Buy In – Next the idea and solutions have to be presented to the board or angel investors to get their buy in to initiate the execution process. This must include the detailed roadmap and blueprint.
6. Initiate and Engage Resources – Again, execution requires a proper organization setup with right resources of each type which could take some time unless those are pre-identified in parallel which is normally not the case and might not be possible as well.
7. Start Execution (Design, Prototype, Build, Test cycles) – The real work starts from this step when the organization starts working and must adapt Lean and Agile processes which can be flexible yet solid as a foundation to get things done.
8. Apply Lean and Agile methods – The cycle of daily, weekly and monthly progress reviews using online dashboards and decision meetings with stakeholders begin to ensure we make progress as per the plan and report issues and risks requiring action and attention from stakeholders and board members.
9. Prepare Go to Market Strategy and Plan Execution – While all this is in progress, the team needs to prepare for go-to-market strategy for launch and how to handle competition and regulations in the market. Next releases and speed to market along with desired quality are very important to make it successful.
10. Measure Results and Do Continuous Improvement – Ensure results are measured to track what works and what needs to improve. Apply tracking, monitoring and continuous improvement cycles.
Technopreneurs are all around us, some of them are very big brands while others are in the process of becoming one and some others are just starting up. There are many examples of successful technopreneurs who started and achieved great success. Here are some examples,
1. Amazon – Leader in cloud computing
2. Apple – Disrupted the mobile phone, apps and entertainment market
3. Netflix – Disrupted the DVDs, Cinema and Entertainment market
4. Google – Disrupted the internet search and browser market as well as the leader in cloud computing
5. Microsoft – Leader in enterprise computers, software and cloud computing
6. Uber and Grab – Disrupted the taxi and private care market
7. Facebook (Meta) – Leading Social media platform
If we would add entrepreneurs to the list then there will be many more names in the list.
Important to note that while there are several examples of successful technopreneurs, there are also many more examples of failures where technopreneurs are either ahead of time or behind time or addressing wrong market segment or having bad user experience etc.
The technopreneurship journey requires thorough checks and solid commitment to keep on going in toughest of times to make it. There is a lot from technopreneurs that went ahead of us and how they have survived the journey as it requires long term commitment and lots of trial and errors to get it right.
The technopreneur and entrepreneur lifecycles are almost similar except that technopreneur innovations, solutions and services are fully technology based and they change and transform with much larger speed then other innovations, solutions and services.