Oct 08, 2020 Regina Kaza Business, Corporate Innovation, Innovation, Storytelling, virtual team building 2 Comments

Top 5 Lessons from Episode 24: Ken Evans, Managing Director, Tampa Bay Innovation Center

Are you looking to get your company off the ground and onto the map?

Tune in to our latest episode featuring Ken Evans, Managing Director of Tampa Bay Innovation Center, to hear our discussion about how TBIC connects young companies with capital and coaching. 

Here are five things we learned from this week’s episode:

1. “Tech for the sake of tech is useless.”

Throughout his years working in product development and marketing, Ken Evans kept one key theme at the forefront of his career: there is a major disconnect between technology and its users. It is this mantra that helps him support new product developers in their journey from innovation to market. “You need to understand tech,” Ken told RIDG. “But you need to understand the people side of tech and how it impacts lives.” While a catchy product can create great buzz, if it doesn’t help people at the end of the day, it is useless. 

2. A product can only be successful if it solves a real problem. 

Startups and entrepreneurs in TBIC’s Innovation Accelerator Program spend about 80 percent of the workshop drilling down the problem their products solve. While this may seem extensive, it is this research that allows young companies to understand if their idea is buyable. This consumer research helps them understand if their product or service solves not only a problem for themselves and their peers but for multiple people in various industries. As Ken puts it, “The biggest problem is that product innovation is people building products that nobody needs.”

3. The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is to pitch a concept.

Many young businesses jump to sell and market their products before actually digging into consumer research. Without research, their product is simply a concept. In order to understand the problem and pain points a product or service solves, businesses need to understand if the product fits in people’s day-to-day lives. “People tend to be nice and pat you on the head and say they love the idea,” says Ken. Getting into the deeper issues and problems is where you can see if your product will succeed. 

4. People hire a product to do a job.

At the end of the day, people bring in products to solve problems the same way they bring in new employees. The same questions apply: Does this product make sense? Will we see a return on our investment? How will we train the staff to use the product?

5. Research uncovers secrets.

Building relationships with end-users before the product is even built, allows entrepreneurs and young companies to understand customer pain points and address them in development or use them to create marketing and sales strategies. Consumers will often share valuable information including where they buy products, what problems they need products to solve, and more. The consumer research process allows entrepreneurs to build trust and gather secrets their customers wouldn’t share if they were simply being sold to. 

You can learn more about the Innovation Accelerator Program here or reach out to Tampa Bay Innovation Center on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Coffee with Ben is a series that focuses on how companies innovate, strategically plan for the future, and create a strong company culture. These topics are always important for companies to address, but now they’re absolutely critical. To learn how you can increase your capacity for innovation or to guest star on the show, subscribe to our channel and schedule virtual coffee with RIDG Director of Development, Ben Blackman.

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Lessons from Episode 24: Ken Evans, Managing Director, Tampa Bay Innovation Center

  • Great article and infographic! I had the good fortune of being part of TBIC Cohort #2 and can attest to Ken’s ability to drill down to the data points that will make or break any new product.

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