During an informal discussion, several highly successful biotechnology entrepreneurs gave these tips on finding a good startup idea.
Have an idea to do something that no one else is doing, that only you are already prepared to do, and that has enough people that care about it.
Be engaged with organizations and institutions that support biotechnology, and build a network of contacts to increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time. The right timing is critical.
Notice and learn from unexpected results and mistakes.
When trying to solve a research problem, remember that breakthrough starts with the word break. When you feel stuck, take a break and let your unconscious mind work on solving the problem. Sleep on it or do something else, like take a walk or play a sport. You may find later that your ideas come together in a new, creative way.
Once you have identified a research problem to solve, think about the problem from multiple perspectives.
For example, think about. . .
- Past attempts to solve the problem and what happened.
- How different stakeholders describe the problem.
- The most challenging part of the problem.
- Ideas of others both in and not in the field.
- What new technologies are available or in development that might help.
Use both convergent and divergent thinking to solve a problem. Try going back and forth between these two approaches.
Convergent thinking is bringing together everything you know about solving a problem and using that to draw conclusions.
Divergent thinking, also known as brainstorming, allows you to come up with any idea that might contribute to solving the problem, no matter how far-fetched. Then you investigate the best ideas.
Align your research with US government funding agencies (especially SBIR) and with industry priorities.
Oberhardt B. Dragonfly Thinking: Problem Solving for a Successful Future. 2012. BJO Biomedical, LLC.
Five Basics of a Strong Biotech Business Concept
- The business must efficiently develop viable products.
- The intellectual property must be defensible with no other patents that could block commercialization.
- The business plan must include a strategy for generating significant profits that. . .
- Includes customers already convinced of the need and willing to pay for the product or service.
- Considers regulatory and reimbursement issues.
- The target market should be large enough and/or rapidly growing.
- The management team must be able to implement the business plan.
Source: Kolchinsky P. The Entrepreneur’s Guide to a Biotech Startup. 2004.