Speed-to-Market vs Market Readiness

Move fast, break things. This is the mantra that is defining how companies operate. When it comes to launching new products and services in the market, especially in the new market with disruptive innovation, the same mindset is applied - get to market as soon as possible, and perhaps be the first in the market. Usually, a barrage of new companies follow suit to enter the same market offering similar value propositions - all in pursuit of capturing the market share and mind share. 

However, speed-to-market does not necessarily translate to market readiness of the value proposition. This means that many companies that enter a market early such as Google Glass and PDA to mention a few, fail to achieve product-market fit even though their innovation may drastically improve the status quo. This is mainly because people are not ready to adopt a new behavior brought from the innovation, as well as the missing conditions in other aspects that needs to be considered. Wrong timing is hence, the most common reason why companies fail to launch their offerings in the market.

It does not matter how fast a company launches a new offering in the market. What matters is the timing of launch. A good timing is when the market is ready to activate and adopt a new behavior that will positively change how people behave and consume product and service with minimal transition.

Companies can anticipate the right timing for to pursue and launch innovation by evaluating through 5 lenses of trends:

1. Social - Desirability
- Does the product/service fulfill people’s needs and desires?
- Is the behavior transition from status quo seamless?
- Does the product/service have a positive ripple effect that makes other aspect of life easier?

2. Technology - Feasibility
- Is the technology mature enough to use?
- Is the technology affordable enough to install and maintain?
- Does the technology fit with other existing infrastructure or create new infrastructure ecosystem?

3. Economy - Viability
- Is the innovation process progressive from MVP towards full-blown product/service?
- Does the experiment shows early sign that people will pay for it?
- Does the innovation have a sustainable business model?

4. Environment - Sustainability
- Does the innovation cause harm to the environment?
- Is there a fit with the chosen location of country, city, and area?
- Is the innovation accessible to the people at the right places?

5. Politics - Permissibility
- Are there existing rules in place to govern the chosen sector?
- Is the innovation disruptive enough that it may get banned by the government?
- Is it likely for the government to define new rules and regulations?

These are conditions that must be evaluate in order to anticipate the receptiveness the market and achieve a product-market fit. The more disruptive an innovation is to the market, the more likely that these questions will have to be considered.

In the end, what is more important than being the first to market is to be the last to enter and the last that market ever needs. To be the last, companies need to adopt business agility to anticipate and adapt to the lenses of trends.