Surviving the Valley of Death!

Surviving the “Valley of Death!”I recently spent more than nine weeks of constant traveling along the global innovation superhighway, focusing on learning, making distinctions, developing The Start-Up Game™ business, catching up with long time clients, colleagues, associates and friends and networking profusely.

What no-one, was aware of, or knew, was that, at the same time, I was also riding out my own” set of unique “Valley of Death” and “Emotional Rollercoaster” death defying challenges, in the chasm that exists between an invention and its execution!

The “Valley of Death” involves clarifying the more tangible aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the “Emotional Rollercoaster” involves managing the less tangible and more potentially reactive aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship. These form the harsh reality and the deep chasm that exists between an invention and its execution, surviving and ultimately mastering it determines ultimate success or failure!

What does commercialization involve and why is it important?

Commercializing an invention or creation is by far the most challenging process an entrepreneur faces; in fact, it is the most critical success factor that has to be executed.
This involves a myriad of front end innovation management processes including the most difficult first step, which is to clarify the features and benefits of a product, service that has never previously existed or may not have yet been formally developed or validated:
- So do you make it up as you go along, or do you rely on your inner knowing, your intuitive hunches, or on your knowledge, skills and experience to clarify them?

  • How do you incorporate lean start-up principles when you check in and research your potential customers, about what they need and want in terms of features and benefits of a product or service that they may have not yet seen, touched or felt?

And when this is happening, you have to rely on your self efficacy and courage to keep your fears at bay and stay in the innovation and entrepreneurship game. To constantly explore how you can generate the cash flow and resources you need to stay alive as well as to develop your new business. As well as to how you can realistically generate income, from a business model that may yet to be initiated whilst focusing at the same time on building your brand, its credibility and presence in the marketplace:

  • How do you keep your delivery mechanisms in place, ready to rock and roll, with no real substance other than a projected sales pipeline to keep people and the team engaged and proposed delivery mechanisms in place?
  • How can you develop and execute your service and support plan to ensure that you deliver and sustain what you promise whilst riding the peaks, troughs and conflicts of the emotional rollercoaster?

Mastering this myriad of front end innovation management processes is achieved by innovators and entrepreneurs staying focused, being adaptive learners and staying flexible. This ultimately enables them to courageously and boldly walk the tightrope between the “Valley of Death” and the “Emotional Rollercoaster.”

How to best survive and flourish!

  1. Focus on successfully navigating the dangerous rattlesnakes involved in team and potential client interactions, relationships and conflicts.
  2. Pay attention, be intentional and take responsibility for managing and regulating the challenges involved in mastering the unstable and seemingly insurmountable sand dunes and welcoming oases affecting your emotional reactions and overall state of being.
  3. Seek collaborative opportunities and support from friends, colleagues, as well as from potential partners, agencies, resources and networks. Also make sure to be optimistic, kind, nurturing and forgiving of yourself as it is often a lonely and singular ride along a road less traveled.

Finally, the greatest and most challenging option is to do nothing at all, to give into your fears and to allow your emotional state to be flooded into acute paralysis and to then perish from lack of sustenance in the valley of death!

image credit: bootstrapaustin.org


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    Janet gained her consulting, education, facilitation, training and executive coaching skills, from 30 years experience in manufacturing, retailing and learning and development businesses to Australia’s and Israel’s’ top 100 companies. She resides in Israel where she founded a start-up, ImagineNation™ that teaches innovative leadership and start-up entrepreneurship via The Start-Up Game™.

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