During the course of my career, I have seen fortunes made and fortunes lost. I have seen companies start in a basement and within five years sell for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. I have also seen entrepreneurs having to sell their homes and cars and move in with the relatives. Some of these entrepreneurs had been wildly successful in previous ventures but lost everything in their latest startup.

The factors for success and failure are complex. Some pertain to sales and marketing which are not in my wheelhouse. What has interested me my entire career are the scientific, engineering and related technical aspects of innovation and new product development that contribute to success or failure.

I set out to produce this very brief series of videos after witnessing yet again, a number of innovations going seriously off the rails. Like in any profession, after almost 40 years, you can almost smell trouble as you walk in the room. My goal with these lectures was not to be comprehensive, not by any means. I simply wanted to site some basic examples of mistakes that have been sadly made by all manner of companies, big and small.

I have worked for large multinationals, with innovators in their basements, and everything in between. What I know is that mistakes made by innovators have nothing to do with company size. It has been breathtaking to watch some very large and smart companies make some of the most foolish and avoidable mistakes. The only difference is the amount of money that goes up in smoke.

I’ll end with a few disclaimers. For innovators developing information technology products and services, parts of my commentary will not be as relevant. My life has been in regulated products, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, natural health products and foods and beverages.

Secondly, I don’t believe there is any quick fix or magical solution for successful innovation. The intent of these lectures is to highlight some landmines that have destroyed the dreams and fortunes of some very promising innovators.

Finally, I don’t want to discourage entrepreneurs or innovators. The world needs you. But most importantly, the world needs you to succeed. If these lectures were to help even a single innovator avoid catastrophe, I would consider this to have been a success. Thank you for watching.

For more information, please contact Focal Point Research Inc. We are leading North American Regulatory and New Product Consultants for Medical DevicesNatural Health ProductsOTC DrugsCosmetics, and other consumer products regulated by Health Canada and the U.S. FDA

Rob Fichtner, August, 2019