Six common barriers to innovation

So, you’ve conceived an idea for a new innovative product or service and you’re sure it’s going to make you your first £million.

But in reality, from concept to the first sale is a long journey and one that will never be the same no matter how many times you travel it.

Let’s have a look at some of the key barriers you may have to face on your way:


Bad Ideas:

Once conceiving your idea or even before doing so, you need to justify the want/need for such an idea, if the appetite isn’t there, then you are better to fail fast and avoid disappointment in the future.

Lack of Research:

This ties in with ‘Bad Ideas’, whilst being careful to protect your idea, you must also undertake both primary and secondary research into your market, if you are speaking with potential future customers and attaining feedback, document this, “Joe Bloggs said it was a great idea” does not amount to quality primary research.

Competitor Analysis:

You have not undertaken enough competitor analysis if you find yourself telling people “there’s nothing like this out there”. Analyse companies working in a similar space, analyse products that in the future would be found in the same aisle as your product in the shops, analyse, analyse, analyse.

Intellectual Property:

Intellectual Property used properly is a valuable business tool, used incorrectly or not considered at all, it can damage the prospects of your innovation, be sure to take expert advice on this.


How will you finance your innovation journey? There is no right or wrong answer to this one, as long as there is an answer, and a contingency plan if possible, in case the former doesn’t work out.


The term “It markets itself” is rarely true for SME’s, your brand, your marketing strategy, your message, are all vitally important to ensure that when your product lands on the shelf, that it comes off it again.


Most of the above can be overcome or ideally avoided through effective business planning.

If you require some expert guidance or advice on any part of your innovation journey, the Pathways 2 Innovation programme could be able to help you.

Through the programme, SMEs can tap into a pool of business grants available for eligible companies, find out more about grants and support available here.

The support you need is just a phone call away, 0191 516 4400.

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