Every Wacky Idea is not an Innovation

Vikas Joshi
August 31, 2009

It is often hard to assess whether a new business idea is truly innovative. To determine if your idea is innovative, here are some questions I suggest you ponder over.


  • Is anyone doing something similar? Is the difference apparent?

Passion and Belief

  • Can you sleep well if you were told this idea will not be implemented?
  • What are you willing to risk in pursuit of this idea?

Simplicity and Clarity

  • Is this idea very simple to describe to a large number of people?
  • If yes, can they find it easy to repeat its essence back to you correctly in their own words?
  • When successful, will the idea look obvious in hindsight?


  • For whom will this idea create a value, and how much?


  • Is there one logical reason why this idea was not a good idea to implement before now?
  • What discontinuity or tipping point has arrived in the environment that creates a niche for this idea now?
  • What enabling factors have arrived on the scene that make the implementation of this idea possible today?

Strategic Fit

  • Is there a way to derive sustainable competitive advantage over others, from this idea ?
  • Why will you - or your team - be better at implementing this idea than someone else?
  • How does this idea complement your strategic imperatives, or deliver a new one?
  • Will you be able to build value for customers using this idea without harming your fit with the ecosystem in which you currently operate?

These are inconvenient questions, and sometimes very hard to answer - such is the lure of your own idea. But I recommend you answer them, and if you are satisfied, you may have an innovative business idea. Let's talk about it.