Proposing a value-adding middleman for innovation

futurelab default header

by: John Caddell

In March's upcoming Harvard Business Review, Professors Mohan Sawhney of Northwestern Unversity and Satish Nambisan of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute define a valuable emerging role in the open innovation process–what they call an "innovation capitalist."

An IC firm would identify and license ideas and technology from various sources, and sell them to an established companies looking for new and innovative products. Yet it would do more than simply broker the idea between inventor and acquiring company.

The IC would develop prototypes, conduct market research, perform initial branding and packaging–but would stop short of fully developing or commercializing the concept. That would be left to the acquiring company.

The acquiring company pays less than it would for a market-proven product. But it also gets to observe and assess products well past the idea stage, and thus increases its innovation yield.

Product marketing consultants, you have a new job title: Innovation Capitalist.

(Disclosure: I am an RPI alumnus)

Original Post: