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  • mattheelan

Converting innovation into entrepreneurial success.


As a Mentor in Residence at UMKC Regnier Institute, I will occasionally get asked to speak to different classes. I recently spoke to a class on “Corporate Entrepreneurship” with Eric Anderson, Director of Technology Commercialization, and Ben Williams, Assistant Teaching Professor, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. A part of Ben’s presentation was distinguishing the four types of innovation. They are:

  1. Invention – the creation of a new product, service, or process

  2. Extension – expansion of a product, service, or process already in existence

  3. Duplication – replication of an already existing product, service, or process

  4. Synthesis – a combination of existing concepts and factors into a new formulation

These types of innovation are what most of the entrepreneurs that I have worked with over my career were doing on some level. I think back to these individuals and none of them were labeled “visionary geniuses.”


The entrepreneurs that I have worked with were successful because:


(1) Their innovation (no matter what type) worked and was successful in its ability to solve a problem which generated significant revenues and profitability.

(2) They created an organization that became a part of the community that symbolized greatness through the quality of their products and services.

(3) They created new opportunities for their employees and substantially invested in their professional development in order to grow their careers within the organization.

(4) They created lifelong organizational wealth for their employees. Some of those employees took that new wealth and went on to become entrepreneurs and innovators themselves.

(5) They created new wealth for their families which enabled them to give their time to different foundations, initiatives, and causes.



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