Drucker outlines seven sources for innovative opportunities that should be monitored by those interested in starting an entrepreneurial venture. The first four are sources of innovation that lie within the industry. The last three arise in the societal environment.
- The Unexpected - An unexpected success, an unexpected failure or an unexpected outside event can be a symptom of a unique opportunity.
- The Incongruity - A discrepancy between reality and what everyone assumes it to be, or between what is and what ought to be, can create an innovative opportunity.
- Innovation based on process need - When a weak link is evident in a particular process, but people work around it instead of doing something about it, an opportunity is present to the person or company willing to supply the "missing link".
- Changes in industry or market structure - The opportunity for an innovative product, service or business approach occurs when the underlying foundation of the industry or market shifts.
- Demographics - Changes in the population's size, age structure, composition, employment, level of education and income can create innovative opportunities.
- Changes in perception, mood and meaning - Innovative opportunities can develop when a society's general assumptions, attitudes and beliefs change.
- New Knowledge - Advances in scientific and nonscientific knowledge can create new products and new markets.