How to get through The Valley of Death in the shortest possible time
Every innovation goes through the Valley of Death…always…every single time. This applies as equally to SMEs and Enterprises as it does to Startups. Most Startups are aware of the Valley of Death concept, however, very few more established businesses realise precisely how and where this is occurring in their business right now, and how it is impacting them.
This is the same as what kills a business. A business may have a short term dramatic cash gap, but as long it has a budget for how to recover and that the budget will resolve the cash gap very quickly, the business will normally trade through the VOD. On the other hand, when a business has only a small negative cash balance, but has no budget to resolve the negative balance and the negative balance continues for an extended period of time, the business will not be able to trade out of the problem and will need to close. Therefore, when an innovation project does not run smoothly, it takes twist and turns, hits delays and roadblocks, the length of time it takes to get out of the VOD extends and thus its likelihood of recovering from its lack of water, starts to get very serious.
It is very rarely understood what the real challenges are with the valley of death. For those that are not aware here’s a classic image of the valley of death “VOD”. As the diagram shows, the VOD, is a representation of the different phases an innovation project goes through from idea to commercial scale success, versus the financial benefit/ cost it incurs during the journey from idea to commercial success. Following are some of the key issues that are often misunderstood with the journey through the VOD. Time is the most important factor in the VOD The most serious and substantial mistake with misunderstanding the VOD, is not the depth of the valley, its the length. It is not the lack of water that kills a person, it’s how long they don’t have the water that kills them.
Success as a new product
Success as a business
Valley of death
18|The Gatherer Guest cont ibutor: Steve Carroll, Founder of The Unleashed Zone