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From Idea to Opportunity Maps (I2O Maps): An Alternative Starting Point in Venture Creation

Authors:

Abstract

Venture creation is typically marked with the spotting of a lucrative opportunity in the market or the appearance of a creative idea in the intellectual domain of the entrepreneur. Increasing democratization of information, relaxation of venture set-up hurdles and improving socio-economic conditions have catalysed both opportunity sighting and ideation. This has resulted in an enhanced rate of start-ups, which prima-facie appears to be a healthy and welcome trend. However, this has not changed the early mortality rate of start- ups. The strength that a venture then derives at the point of start when it is based on an independent idea or an opportunity is examined. A possible alternate start point through Idea to Opportunity mapping (I2O Maps) that combine the strength of these two independent key components is presented. A tool that leverages imperatives from the social and creative domain to validate and select the best possible I2O Maps is elaborated. The benefits of the tool and the framework are detailed. The framework and the tool should open up possibilities for further research in validating the influencers for venture creation at the pre-start phase. Keywords: New Venture Creation; Business Idea; Business Opportunity; Idea to Opportunity
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From Idea to Opportunity Maps (I2O Maps): An Alternative
Starting Point in Venture Creation
Raj K Shankar
Ichiban Business Consultants Private Limited
Chennai
Abstract
Venture creation is typically marked with the spotting of a lucrative opportunity in the market or the
appearance of a creative idea in the intellectual domain of the entrepreneur. Increasing democratization of
information, relaxation of venture set-up hurdles and improving socio-economic conditions have catalysed
both opportunity sighting and ideation. This has resulted in an enhanced rate of start-ups, which prima-facie
appears to be a healthy and welcome trend. However, this has not changed the early mortality rate of start-
ups. The strength that a venture then derives at the point of start when it is based on an independent idea or
an opportunity is examined. A possible alternate start point through Idea to Opportunity mapping (I2O
Maps) that combine the strength of these two independent key components is presented. A tool that leverages
imperatives from the social and creative domain to validate and select the best possible I2O Maps is elaborated.
The benefits of the tool and the framework are detailed. The framework and the tool should open up possibilities
for further research in validating the influencers for venture creation at the pre-start phase.
Keywords: New Venture Creation; Business Idea; Business Opportunity; Idea to Opportunity
At 22 Edison got his first patent for a telegraphic vote recording machine for the legislator. It was
expected that the machine would reduce the time taken for voting in the parliament. However the
chairman of the committee was clearly unimpressed with the speed of the machine. He remarked to a
partner of Edison ‘If there is any invention on earth that we do not want down here, this is it”. The
slow pace of roll call voting provided members the crucial time to lobby, which would have been lost
with the use of Edison’s machine. Edison’s vote recorder remained unused. From then on Edison
decided that he would only invent something, if there was a market for it. After which Edison went on
to get 1092 more patents for useful inventions. There are many versions of this anecdote floating
around in official and unofficial formats. For, none expounds better the need for an enterprise to be
built upon a strong opportunity.
However from the earliest days of modern inventions, through the industrial revolution and
presently in the information era, ideas are celebrated and remain as the most valued asset. In the early
days, an audacious idea as incredible as travelling to find New Worlds (India, America) could fetch a
sponsor. Many scientific breakthroughs and early inventions have come up only through the benevolence
of a sponsor who valued the idea and allowed for enterprise evolution. In modern times also we have
enterprises whose success rests on a path breaking idea. Creativity and Innovation are hailed as key
entrepreneurial qualities. Students and GenY Start-ups still firmly believe in the power of an idea.
There has always been a strong debate in academic and industrial circuits around what is a more
appropriate foundation or start point for venture creation. Should it be an opportunity that resides in
the market or the idea of the creative intellect?
From Idea to Opportunity Maps (I2O Maps): An Alternative Starting Point in Venture Creation 111
This paper does not discuss and take sides on whether opportunity or idea should be the starting
point in an entrepreneurial journey. It raises and examines the possibility of a third starting point. This
starting point leverages the strengths of the existing two independent start points. It presents the
concept, construct and the choice of what is termed as an ‘Idea to Opportunity Map (I2O Map)’ – a third
possible starting point. It details a framework for identification, evaluation and selection of I2O maps.
The evaluation brings to the fore, key imperatives that need to be considered before deciding on the
possible core of your business. The paper then proceeds to suggest further actions that are to be taken
once appropriate I2O maps have been selected. It concludes by discussing the potential benefits that
businesses can derive when they are founded on an I2O Map rather than the individual opportunity or
idea.
Need for Third Start Point
An entrepreneurial journey starts typically with the entrepreneur coming across a challenge, a need or
a shortcoming in the existing environment (opportunity). Alternatively it could start with a compelling
thought that excites and stimulates the entrepreneur intellectually (idea).
The two approaches to starting have been depicted in the below illustration
a) When Opportunity Identification forms the starting point
b) When an Idea forms the starting point
Figure 1: Approaches to Starting of a Venture
Today democratization of information is making opportunities more widely visible while also
providing inspiration for heightened ideation. This interesting combination along with general
improvement in socio-economic status is catalyzing the interest towards starting up. This spurt in
venture creation without adequate thought process prior to the start is leading to not just unproductive
material utilization (facility, funding, resources etc.) but also the depletion of entrepreneurial motivation.
One requires a more structured approach to starting of a venture which will ensure better utilization of
Opportunity Sighting
Opportunity Selection
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Ideation
Idea Selection
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resources in today’s highly resource constrained environment. The following are more specific
shortcomings or risks that challenge the very sustainability of the business that has been created based
on either an opportunity or an idea.
Idea or Opportunity alone cannot define the core of a business. A venture is said to be in
sustainable existence if it is able to consistently capture value by exploiting or leveraging a
situation (opportunity) in the market with a product or service (idea); that is seen as generating
value to someone (customers) in the social domain. This means neither an opportunity nor an
idea can independently define the equation that an enterprise can have with its customers.
Hence when a business is built based on evaluation of only one component it is inherently
standing on an incomplete and weak edifice.
Starting with the independent factor will restrict business possibilities. When an entrepreneur
starts with what he is convinced as the best idea or an opportunity, there is a tendency to rush
into action. The strength of the opportunity or the idea in isolation often prevents the
entrepreneur and his team to examine and arrive, at all possible combinations that can be used
to create value for customers. This leads to restrictive thinking when it comes to identification
of possible channels of business at the point of design. This subsequently leads to issues of scale
and sustainability during implementation.
Potential misalignment with entrepreneur’s personal value system. One of the strongest
entrepreneurial motivations to venture creation is the strong personal values or the belief system
of the founder. The starting point whether it is an idea or an opportunity almost always
matches with this entrepreneurial inclination. However only when the counterpart (opportunity
for an idea or idea in the opportunity space) is selected, does a business get built. The failure to
evaluate whether this building block is still aligned to the value system of entrepreneur and can
service adequately the entrepreneurial inclination, leads to conflict between the entrepreneur
and the venture at a later stage. This conflict is not one that appears suddenly. It gets into the
system even before the point of start, from not evaluating the idea and opportunity together
for resonance with the true entrepreneurial motivation.
This brings to the fore the question, that if riding with only a strong opportunity identification or
creative idea is not a justifiable starting point for success – then what is? The alternative starting point
should address effectively the short-falls of the currently available modes. It should provide a method
for the entrepreneur to arrive at the core of his business in an objective manner that takes into
consideration both the opportunity that exists outside him and the idea that arises within him to leverage
the opportunity. The approach should facilitate coming up with all possible pairs of ideas and
opportunities; a method to evaluate them and help select the possible pairs around which business can
be created. The evaluation and selection should consider various aspects that could influence the success
of the business including but not limited to the entrepreneurial aspiration and market preparedness.
The result of the evaluation should be in the form that can lend itself to further thinking and validation
through business design. The alternative third starting point being proposed is a combination of Idea
and Opportunity, called as Idea to Opportunity Map.
Arriving at I2O Maps
An I2O map can be arrived at in two ways; by ideating around an identified opportunity or by identifying
opportunities to leverage the conceived idea. These two routes are illustrated through figure 2-a and
figure 2-b shown below.
From Idea to Opportunity Maps (I2O Maps): An Alternative Starting Point in Venture Creation 113
Figure 2-a: Arriving at I2O Maps by Ideating Around Selected Opportunity
From Opportunity Sighting: A large section of entrepreneurially inclined minds end up in
entrepreneurship, taking this route. Intuitively they are able to identify gaps either in the market or in
the industry. Sighting opportunities in either of these realms becomes the driver for them to start up
their enterprises. Continuing to listen to their intuitive self they identify a particular idea to tap into
this opportunity and kick start the enterprise. This paper suggests that the entrepreneur spends further
effort to ideate around the identified opportunities; come up with a list of potential ideas to opportunity
maps. Every idea generated to leverage the opportunity is termed as an I2O Map. Each of these I2O
Maps has to be evaluated as a single coherent unit using the suggested I2O Map sieve, to select those
I2O Maps that could represent potential business possibilities.
Figure 2-b: Identifying Opportunities that can be Leveraged Using the Idea
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From creative ideation: Another set of entrepreneurs although a lesser proportion comes up with
extremely innovative ideas. The reason for coming up with these innovative ideas could be their own
prior experience, observation, research or even imagination. While exceptions can be sighted for a
business built around ideas, there are a disproportionately high number of cases to show how useful
ideas with potential have disappeared simply because alternative opportunities were not discovered.
This framework suggests that ‘ideaists’ detach themselves from their ideas and objectively identify all
potential opportunities where their ideas can be applied. The ideas paired to each of the identified
opportunities where it can be of use now represent an I2O Map. These pairs of ideas-&-opportunities
(I2O Map) needs to be evaluated independently by use of the I2O Map sieve to identify those which
can be further designed for commercial viability.
Evaluating an I2O Map
It is now obvious that one opportunity could have many ideas associated with it and vice-versa. Every
I2O Map then represents a potential business proposition, around which the venture can be designed.
As the business is going to be built on an I2O Map, understanding each of these I2O Maps and weighing
them against a set of criteria that will allow the entrepreneur to recognise those I2O maps that are best
suited in terms of commercial and personal gains is the next obvious and needed step. For this step we
propose an evaluation tool called the I2O Map sieve.
The evaluation of the I2O map can be done through a channelized thought process put forth in the
form of simple questions under four key imperatives. The four imperatives under which the I2O map is
evaluated are:
the economic imperative
the cultural imperative
the social imperative
the personal imperative
The four imperatives have been chosen based on the fundamental equation in business namely,
risk and rewards. Monetary rewards in business arise out of the underlying economics, while a deeper
and subtler one is the happiness and the satisfaction that the individual entrepreneur experiences while
building, sustaining and scaling the business. The risk side of the equation comprises firstly the market
viability, acceptance and size; secondly the alignment or misalignment with the underlying cultural
fabric. The four aspects which form the first level factors influencing the risk reward equation have
been identified as economic, personal, social and cultural imperatives. While the last two lie in the
social domain, the first two lies in the creative domain.
Craig S. Fisher and Babette E Bensoussan define in their book “Business and Competitive
Analysis“, a business model as: “A link between the social domain where economic rents are generated and
creative domain where products and services are conceptualized So a step preceding the business design
should be to understand how the core of the business is influenced by the factors residing in these two
domains. This is provided for through these four imperatives that comprise the I2O Map sieve.
The intent of the sieve is to only filter away implausible and contradicting I2O maps from the set
that has been arrived at. Hence the sieve does not provide for in depth quantitative evaluation but is
designed as a back of the napkin quick assessment tool. The sieve does not prioritise these imperatives
amongst each other with one taking precedence or importance over the other. The I2O evaluation sieve
will result in those Idea-to-Opportunity maps whose commercial potential and requirements have to
be arrived at through a subsequent rigorous business design exercise.
From Idea to Opportunity Maps (I2O Maps): An Alternative Starting Point in Venture Creation 115
I2O Map Evaluation Sieve
The Economic Imperative
The Economic imperative aims to assess the I2O map in terms of the need for the business, the ability
of the business to pay, produce, sell and margins to sustain and scale. Though the questions in this
imperative may seem to demand closer to home knowledge in terms of numbers, at this point in the
entrepreneurial journey a fair approximation should suffice. There are various aspects that need to be
considered in the economic imperative. These aspects can be understood through the following
considerations:
Do we have a clear customer definition for the I2O Map?
The foremost aspect for consideration is whether the current I2O Map clearly services a customer need.
In other words this implies verifying if there are customers or potential users who can be clearly
identified for the particular service/product that the I2O Map represents.
Usually for a business, a serviceable market needs to be identified in terms of geography, potential
industries etc. It is important to understand that the defining serviceable boundary for customers is a
very critical activity, which needs to be carried out as early as possible in venture creation. Though at
I2O Map Evaluation Sieve
Details I2O Map 1 I2O Map 2 I2O Map 3
The Economic Imperative
1. Do we have a clear Customer Definition for the I2O Map?
2. Does the Entrepreneur have the adequate capability to Deliver the I2O
Map?
3. What is the cost of execution for the I2O Map?
4. What are the external dependencies involved in delivering the I2O Map?
5. Is the Value proposition aligned to the customer’s expectation in value
and price?
6. Can the margins and cash cycle support sustained operations?
7. What is the level of industry alignment and impact?
The Cultural Imperative
1. Is your service misaligned to any of the fundamental cultural beliefs?
2. Are there any cultural stand points which your business can leverage?
3. Are there strong cultural ties that could add value to the particular idea
chosen to service the opportunity identified?
The Social Imperative
1. What is the society’s perspective to this I2O Map?
2. Are there potential support systems in the society?
3. Are there benefits that society can derive by the creation of this
enterprise?
4. Does the I2O Map pertain to a socially driven business or social business?
The Personal Imperative
1. How well does the I2O Map align with personal aspiration?
2. Is the anticipated reward from the I2O Map justified by its risk quotient?
3. Does the I2O map look exciting enough for the Entrepreneur to pursue?
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this stage only a broad level definition of a customer may be needed for assessing the I2O map, a more
detailed definition and analysis of serviceable customer should be done during the design of the business
model
The clarity of customer definition in the mind of the entrepreneur is validated through the answers
to this question. Some leading queries within this could be:
While there may be customers in the opportunity space; will they feel the need for the specific
service/product that the I2O Map stands for?
Can the entrepreneur clearly describe the ideal customer whom he or she wishes to serve?
Are there enough of them available in the initially serviceable market?
Does the entrepreneur have the adequate capability to deliver the I2O Map?
The second aspect in this sieve deals with the entrepreneur’s capability to deliver and execute the
proposed I2O Map. It forces the entrepreneur to examine aspects around finance, networking capability,
ecosystem support, sustenance model at a personal and business level etc. It examines apart from the
investment commitment, the softer aspects surrounding the venture creation.
What is the cost of execution for the I2O Map?
The next aspect in the sieve examines critically the approximate cost of execution and delivery of
service. Very often in the excitement of creating and providing for the service, the entrepreneur fails to
understand the importance of cost involved in realising it. This is also a key reason why many institutions
after scaling to a particular size, find themselves riddled with huge amount of debt or unexpected
amounts of cash problems, just to stay afloat.
What are the external dependencies involved in delivering the I2O Map?
A venture by itself is a socio-economic endeavour where the entrepreneur has to harness combined
strengths of many disparate resources and group. At times the entrepreneur has to depend on external
parties for key components and services to run his business. This dependency could be either through
direct participation or facilitation. Assessing the capability of the entrepreneur to garner such support
becomes a key consideration
Are there any dependencies involved in realizing the I2O in practice?
Are there dependencies on external sources? If so, then what is the extent of the dependency
and how many parties are involved?
How sure is the entrepreneur of the ecosystem’s support?
Is the value proposition aligned to the customer’s expectation in value and price?
Is there a clear value that the receiver sees?
Does this justify the kind of pricing the Entrepreneur intends to charge?
Some amount of quick survey from potential audiences can help in increasing the level of confidence
on this parameter.
Can the margins and cash cycle support sustained operations?
Based on answers to the perceived value and affordable pricing from the previous question one can try
unravelling answers for margins.
From Idea to Opportunity Maps (I2O Maps): An Alternative Starting Point in Venture Creation 117
Are the margins good enough?
What is the quality of the margins?
How does the Operating Cash Cycle look?
What is the level of cash that is to be maintained in the system?
Are margins and cash flow enough to support and sustain a fair amount of growth?
Industry alignment and Impact
At this stage it is important to understand if this I2O map aligns to a particular industry at a broad
level. This will help to understand how this industry functions in its present form and its possible
impact on the setting up and running of the business. So industry issues and influences take into account
right at the pre-start stage itself.
The above considerations under the economic sieve need to be understood so as to check at the
broadest level, the viability of the I2O map and the entrepreneur’s capability and willingness to go
ahead with the venture. While all this would give more in-depth insights when one develops the
business model, understanding these at this stage will help us weed away those I2O Maps that are not
appropriately aligned to the entrepreneurial quotient of the team.
The Cultural Imperative
The second aspect is the Cultural imperative. Culture plays a subtle but critical role in influencing the
success of a business venture. The ease with which a society accepts a service is dependent upon the
practices and values prevalent in the culture. Despite encouraging socio-economic trends in eastern
markets indicating a move tending to globalization; conservative culture in some cases has led to the
rejection of many products that have been runaway hit in the west. The beef based products of Mc
Donald’s in India; is a standing example for this. Following questions can help assess cultural alignment
of an I2O Map:
Is your service misaligned to any of the fundamental cultural beliefs?
Are there any cultural standpoints which your business can leverage?
Are there strong cultural ties that could add value to the particular idea chosen to service the
opportunity identified?
The Social Imperative
This is another aspect that is usually ignored. However, this can have a huge impact, on the
entrepreneurial journey. An entrepreneur seldom starts the journey thinking he would shut it off when
faced with opposition. The strongest obstacles could come from the social fabric of the ecosystem in
which it is getting implemented. Constantly pre-empting the reaction of the social ecosystem to the I2O
map or business venture; understanding levers of support and roadblocks could go a long way in the
successful implementation of the venture. Hence at the earliest point possible it is critical to understand
if the I2O map is socially acceptable or would give rise to some concerns. The questions given below
could provide for some thoughts under this imperative:
Are there potential support systems in the society that has been created to enable ventures to
start off?
Are there any benefits that society can derive by the creation of this enterprise?
Does the I2O Map pertain to a socially driven business or social business?
Is it addressing some societal concern? Will servicing this lead to making of reasonable profits?
Yes to both the questions could mean you are trying to create a sustainable social enterprise.
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Another aspect to be considered is the long term impact of the enterprise on the immediate society
where it operates. Consideration of each of these has a variety of implications for the entrepreneur and
enterprise.
The Personal Imperative
The last perspective is the Personal Imperative’. The personal imperative raises questions that are to
be answered by the entrepreneur or the founding group about their view on the I2O map.
How well does the I2O Map align with personal aspiration?
The driving force for venture creation could be the entrepreneur’s inclination towards one or more of
the following: wealth creation, recognition, serving a social cause etc. Creating the venture around the
I2O Map should align with the particular motivation(s).
If the aspiration quotient is not being serviced by pursuing the I2O Map then it could be the
singular aspect that could turn down the I2O Map. This is one reason that can put a stop when all other
aspects could give a green signal to an I2O Map
a) Can the entrepreneurial team fulfil all the start-up demands of the I2O Map?
Does the entrepreneur or founding team have the ability to turn this I2O map into a reality? Not all I2O
maps need be possible and neither should the founding team or the entrepreneurial team try to somehow
make them work. The practical implementation of the I2O map should be considered in a detached and
unbiased manner. If the ability is not naturally available or cannot be easily put together, then the
answer should be a No.
b) Is the anticipated reward from the I2O Map justified by its risk quotient?
Is there a justifiable level of benefit for the kind of risk that the entrepreneur is going to take? Will it fall
under the realm of intelligent risk taking? The level of risk involved in trying to bring the I2O map to
reality and the rewards it promises to give, is it worth taking? Or will it become a point of discussion
at a later stage? In short is the venture dynamics within the entrepreneur’s risk appetite? These are a
few considerations under this particular head.
c) Does the I2O map look exciting enough for the entrepreneur to pursue?
Is the whole picture that is emerging look exciting enough for the entrepreneur to get up and make the
attempt every single day? Does the I2O map create energy in the founding team or entrepreneur to talk
about it in every given opportunity? Is it an I2O map that can bring pride to people who associate with
it?
Evaluating the motivators in the I2O map that would enhance willingness to take on the struggle,
to see it through, the willingness of people to associate and attach a sense of pride – is probably the last
question to be asked before accepting the I2O map as the potential candidate for a start up
This self evaluation may also require some external inputs. All answers cannot be based on pure
gut feel. Since, the entrepreneur and his founding team are normally constrained on resources in terms
of people money and access they have to look for effective ways to arrive at fairly accurate answers to
as many of these questions as possible. Various trade publications, news items, reports and public
libraries should be extensively used to find answers for areas where the entrepreneur may not be sure.
The result of the evaluation process is weeding out of implausible I2O Maps. This helps the
entrepreneur work further only on those potentially feasible I2O maps which can become the base of a
From Idea to Opportunity Maps (I2O Maps): An Alternative Starting Point in Venture Creation 119
successful business. By doing this the entrepreneur improves the chances of success of his new venture
creation considerably.
What do we do with the I2O Map
On hitting upon an idea or an opportunity, most often entrepreneurs are advised to write a business
plan and then raise capital needed to start the venture. While this has been practiced rather elaborately
and extensively by the entrepreneurial community at large, it may also be the singular reason for the
rather startling statistics of over 90% failure rate within the first year of business. When the business
plan is written without understanding the economics of business it is reduced to a literary document.
This limited thinking around the business often, catalyses failure.
The I2O Map evaluation helps in increasing the chances of success. It provides for a more solid
starting point than an independent idea or an opportunity. But, it is also important to understand that
I2O Map by itself cannot become the base for writing the business plan. An I2O map can only tell us
there is a potentially viable way to exploit the opportunity. Without understanding the economics of
creating a business one cannot go on to writing the business plan for the identified I2O Map. The
intermediate step between I2O Map selection and business plan formulation is business design or
modelling.
Though early discussions on business modelling have happened in the 60’s of the previous century,
the aspects of business model took a back stage for few decades. However the burst of the dot com
bubble in the beginning of the millennium created great interest in people going back to the basics of
business and around the same time business models have resurfaced, gaining importance. Business
model as an activity tries to draw how a business intends to function. The next logical progression
from an I2O Map is designing the business model.
Benefits of I2O Map Evaluation
Increasing interest in the entrepreneurship process has resulted in fresh perspectives in various phases
of the new venture creation process. While new concepts such as business design, modelling, lean
thinking etc. enhances the world views and brings reality to the business concepts, all of these are
intensive exercises involving resources and entrepreneur’s time. The I2O evaluation framework
fundamentally enhances the effectiveness of all following stages in the venture creation process, by
working on the pre-start stage. It ensures that intensive efforts of the entrepreneur, founding team and
ecosystem partners are spent on more plausible I2O Maps rather than many ideas or opportunities
which may be interesting, innovative but imaginary. It also reduces dispersion of efforts across too
many ideas or opportunities, thereby channelizing design and development effort on chosen I2O Maps.
Apart from this it also adds stability to the venture creation process in the following manner ways.
Helps entrepreneur be objective. In the start-up process the stage which is most emotional, tends to
be the point where the entrepreneur decides to kick start the enterprise. Even in the most matured of
individuals our inherent irrationality gets the better of us. At this phase, applying the I2O evaluation
framework, especially as a self evaluation mechanism helps bring the much needed objectivity into the
venture creation process.
Allows you to identify core and adjacencies. While some of the I2O Maps on evaluation can be
straightaway rejected, the entrepreneur may find more than one I2O map left on which the business
can be built. Since life is all about trade-offs, the entrepreneur who intends to be successful will have to
choose a particular I2O Map as the core on which the venture will be designed. The other I2O Maps
could help the entrepreneur identify adjacencies which may serve as both scaling options or as potential
plan Bs for the future.
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Establishes strong alignment between the venture and the individual value system While most
discussions around venture creation analyse extensively the inherent skills, ability and traits of the
entrepreneur and also the potential for the venture’s services in the market, the one aspect that doesn’t
come into the evaluation mechanism is the individual entrepreneur’s value system. This probably
could be a strong reason why there are millions of fairly successful small business owners without very
high professional happiness quotient. The I2O framework ensures an early check on the alignment
between the choice of venture and the entrepreneur’s value system
Provides early signal on possible challenges and scaling potential. Though the evaluation is largely
qualitative in nature, it provides the entrepreneur a very high level view on the possible up-side and
inherent risks. It thus allows for pushing the limits with respect to rewards, while being aware of the
risks. These could serve as useful inputs during the business design phase of venture creation.
Conclusion
If you pick any literature on entrepreneurship you will find that one thing which appears common
across all of them is the discussion around the high failure rate of start-ups. However, increasingly
entrepreneurship is being sought by many individuals as a means of personal and professional
gratification, by corporate as an instrument to ensure survival and scale and by governments as a key
socio-economic change agent. In today’s fast changing, highly interconnected and resource constrained
environment it becomes a primary necessity that conducive ecosystem and support is extended to
enhance the success rate of entrepreneurial activities. Very often the steps to help enhance the venture’s
success have been by the creation of easier funding options, subsidies, incubation etc. However many
a times such help prove futile because of the wrong assumptions around the core of the business. The
I2O Map framework is highly effective as it attempts to work on the assumptions that exist at the very
start of the venture. Through a systematic usage of I2O Map identification and evaluation, the
entrepreneur is able to take an objective stance on the business, even before allocating resources to it.
Usage of I2O Map sieve structured around the four imperatives increases the success rate of the venture
by helping the entrepreneur to play the devil’s advocate at his very first step. It leads on to convincing
positioning and hence practical strategies going forward.
References
Business and Competitive Analysis by Craig S Fleisher and Babette E Bensoussan published by FT Prentice Hall and
Pearson Power, 2008
The New Business Road Test by John W Mullins published by FT Prentice Hall and Pearson Power, 2009
Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston, A press, 2008
Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter F Drucker, Butterworth-Heinemann, April 2002
Seeing What’s Next by Clayton M Christensen, Scott D Anthony and Erik A Roth, HBS Press, 2004
Cool Hunting by Peter Gloor and Scott Cooper, AMACOM, 2007
Knowing a winning business idea when you see one, W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgn, Harvard Business Review,
September-October 2000
An operationalization of Stevenson’s Conceptualization of Entrepreneurship as Opportunity- based Firm Behaviour by
Brown, Terrence and Davidsson, Per and Wiklund, Johan , Strategic Management Journal 22(10):pp 953-968
http://edison.rutgers.edu
... Idea to Opportunity Maps (I2O Maps) are combinations of ideas and opportunities that provide a more solid starting point for ventures than just ideas or opportunities individually. (Shankar, 2012;Shankar, 2013 Professional services firms (PSFs) are those which provide specialized knowledge based services to their clients. In fact a lot of their competitiveness arises from their ability to create and sustain knowledge (Werr & Stjernberg, 2003). ...
... A few niche and boutique firms are attempting to establish themselves too. (ET, 2013, Vision, 2012. ...
... Some of these engagements are individually worth about $2 million each. (ET, 2013). ...
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