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Navigating the Nascent Stage of Innovation

Staying Agile

There are many steps from the nascent periods of a product’s incubation stages to the early signs of commercial viability to the point of actual sales. Keep in mind that an early startup or nascent entrepreneur may not have access to even the most basic business models to run the operation. They may require additional support and resources, which could in turn fuel innovation and foster an innovative culture. What they should have is a viable idea, and a solution to a problem, at its most basic level.

But these early-bird innovators can often provide a company with an agile means of developing new products and services from the ground up. As STIP Compass notes in its research on nascent firms, “Because they frequently have a culture of risk-taking and experimentation, and are in some ways agile, nascent firms can test and refine new ideas, including new business models and the use of new technologies. This agility enables them to meet emerging customer needs, respond to changes in technology or competitive landscapes, and in some cases introduce breakthrough innovations.”

Seeking a Breakthrough

In “Balancing the Innovation Partnership,” All Things Innovation examines how startup and corporate partnerships are a delicate balancing act but one that can maximize innovation success for both partners. Certainly, there are challenges and opportunities from both perspectives. For the startup, there may be initial struggles, such as raising investment funds, hiring key employees, gaining customers and expanding into new markets.

The movement for startups and corporate venturing is becoming more of a trend in organizations, according to Chris Varley, Principal of Goodyear Ventures, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, in a conversation on “Innovation Ventures” with All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler. “Big companies develop bureaucracy because they need it. What happens though is a lot of rigidity creeps in, and that can kill innovation. So, smart companies start looking at how we can keep the bureaucracy that we need to function as a large organization – but find better, faster, cheaper ways to get new ideas in-house and in the market,” says Varley.

Looking forward to FEI 2024? The conference, which will be held June 10 to 12, will feature a session called “The Nascent Venture Playbook For Corporates: How to Spend Your First 100 Days and $100 When Changing the World,” presented by Mike Vladimer, Lead Product Manager for Innovation, LG Nova. You want to create an impactful business and you hope it’ll be huge—maybe even a “unicorn” worth $1B. You’re at the nascent stage: you’ve got the kernel of an idea, but no product, no customers and no funding. What do you do first? Conventional lean startup methodology isn’t applicable—no, at the nascent stage, you shouldn’t build a minimum-viable product to achieve product-market fit. And definitely don’t validate hypotheses nor pitch investors. Instead use the nascent methodology, a contrarian approach to entrepreneurship that’s a unique toolkit to quickly characterize whether the business idea is a 1-in-100 opportunity or a 1-in-1,000,000 distraction. Register for FEI 2024 here.

Going on the Venture

Launching a nascent venture or early-stage startup requires a combination of creativity, adaptability, and strategic thinking. Here are ten innovation tips, according to ChatGPT, to guide nascent ventures towards success:

  1. Customer-Centric Approach: Understand your target audience’s pain points, desires, and needs. Tailor your product or service to address these issues, ensuring that it provides real value to customers.
  2. Agile Methodology: Embrace agile methodologies to foster adaptability and responsiveness. Regularly iterate on your products or services based on user feedback, market trends, and changing circumstances.
  3. Market Research: Conduct thorough market research to identify trends, potential competitors, and gaps in the market. This knowledge will inform your innovation strategy and help you position your startup effectively.
  4. Lean Startup Principles: Apply lean startup principles by building a minimum viable product (MVP) to test your ideas quickly and cost-effectively. Gather feedback, iterate, and refine before scaling.
  5. Build a Diverse Team: Assemble a diverse team with varied skill sets and perspectives. This diversity fosters creativity, enhances problem-solving capabilities, and brings different viewpoints to the innovation process.
  6. Risk-Taking Culture: Encourage a culture that values calculated risks. Recognize that failure is an inherent part of innovation, and use setbacks as learning opportunities to refine your approach.
  7. Networking and Partnerships: Establish strong networks within your industry. Collaborate with other startups, industry leaders, and organizations to share knowledge, resources, and potential partnerships.
  8. Digital Presence: Leverage digital platforms to create a strong online presence. Engage with your target audience through social media, a user-friendly website, and other digital channels to build brand awareness.
  9. Continuous Learning: Foster a culture of continuous learning among your team members. Stay updated on industry trends, emerging technologies, and evolving customer preferences to remain at the forefront of innovation.
  10. Financial Prudence: Manage your finances wisely. Prioritize spending on essential areas, and be strategic about resource allocation. This financial prudence ensures sustainability and resilience during the early stages of your venture.

Breaking Down Barriers

Remember, innovation is an ongoing process, and being adaptable to change is crucial for long-term success. Regularly reassess your strategies, stay attuned to market dynamics, and be open to refining your approach based on the evolving needs of your customers and the business landscape. Open innovation, co-creation, lean and agile methodologies may all play a role and ease the barriers of launching an innovation, as will startup and corporate partnerships, both internal and external. Having a clear entry strategy during the nascent stage may very well bring you from the starting line and eventually home to the finish.

Video courtesy of Y Combinator


  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.

    View all posts

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