Innovation is inherently risky. If you don't foresee things that might go wrong, take steps to avoid pitfalls and have contingency plans in place, your Offer might never make it to market.

Risk can kill a project at any stage of the development process so it's vital to anticipate it. The further your innovation is from market the longer your journey and the greater the uncertainty. You should ask yourself (and your team) what could possibly prevent progress in your innovation project at any stage. Think about operational, commercial, technological, financial, environmental and other relevant factors.

Examples might include:

Operational - e.g. manufacturer failing to meet deadlines

Commercial - e.g. shortage of materials pushing up costs

Financial - e.g. not receiving promised funding when expected

If you are making an application to Innovate UK, you are very likely to be asked about potential risks. The temptation is to respond by minimising the likelihood that anything will go wrong. This is the wrong answer. Innovate UK funding is made available, in part, to mitigate risks in projects that private sector investors would regard as being too uncertain.

It can also be a mistake to be too cautious about risk at an early stage of a development process when wild ideas should be welcome. At the beginning of a creative journey, you should work to this principle:

"it's easier to make the interesting feasible than to make the feasible interesting."

Components of Risk:


What risks could undermine the viability of your project?


How likely is it that each possible risk might actually occur?


What steps can you take to ensure that the risk is reduced to an acceptable level?