You’ve developed an innovative product or service that you think is a sure bet. However, just as a backup measure, you decided to get some market insights to confirm its potential. You made the right call. The feedback from professionals directly impacted by your project revealed that your innovation is the perfect answer to a market need.
Sometimes life turns up some amazing surprises. Not only has your innovation got potential in the market, but there are also additional applications to which your project could be applied. Whilst these sectors weren’t originally planned for at the start of the project, they certainly deserve some attention.
I- Multiple markets, many advantages
So, you’ve collected market insights and they revealed that there are several fields of application for your innovation. A small company might be tempted to focus on a single market, and they would have good reason. Large companies with more resources, both financial and human, would on the other hand gain a big advantage in aiming for multiple markets.
Expanding the field of possibilities
By appropriating other applications, your innovation becomes replicable. You can then ensure the viability of your project by discovering new, lucrative sectors for your innovation. And by expanding the range of actions for your project, you thus increase its chances of development and success.
Securing the project
By opening up your innovation to markets other than those initially planned, you ensure a certain level of stability and a multitude of possibilities that you can keep as backup options. For example, in the event of a No-Go (abandoning a project, lack of an existing need), the other fields of application identified will provide an "emergency exit" to avoid failure. By reorienting your technology to this market, you can adapt your value proposition and capitalize on it.
Add value to your project
Whether you work for a large group or for a technology transfer office, it’s like that at some point you’ll have to persuade an investment board or your management to choose one project over another.
By evoking the multiple possibilities of your project and demonstrating the market interest for your solution, you’ll be able to prove both its potential and its strength.
II- What fields of application are there for my innovation?
As we’ve already seen, the right field of application is one which meets a market need. But even better is one which offers a greater number of market opportunities AND requires less technological modifications.
Of course, the most enviable position to be in is to find a market with high demand, low development costs, and no technical barriers to entry.
To better understand this, take a look at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix. A basic marketing tool, the BCG matrix helps allocate resources to different business units according to current and future market share. It can also be adapted for our purposes by taking the market potential and technological adjustment quantity into account as a variable.
Dog: Market need is low and a large number of technological adjustments are needed. This is a market segment to avoid.
Cash Cow: Market need is relatively low but the technological adaption potential of the solution is relatively high (few technological adjustments required). This is an adjacent market to aim for as it represents a certain and quickly profitable market. You can thus be content with this market as long as your ambitions for your project aren’t too grand.
Question mark: Market need is high but the technological adjustments needed are still significant. This field of application represents a non-negligible adjacent market which constitutes a good future development path.
Star: This a market to which the technology can be directly applied without any prior technological adjustments. This is definitely a market to focus on if you want your product to enter the history books.
It is therefore key for any project leader to target markets with high demand for a similar solution and with a lower cost and shorter adaptation time.
III- Case study
Every year UMI contacts market professionals for their opinions about over a hundred innovations from all sectors and all stages of maturation.
We’ve used this experience to draw conclusions and identify projects that can be adapted to multiple fields of application.
Discover how innovations designed for a precise need were noted as having the potential to also meet a need in a completely different market.
Seed screening method
Our client developed a range of high flow-rate seed screening methods for quantifying molecules of interest. This innovative technology is based on combining selective markers and image analyses to quickly quantify specific molecules, whilst also evaluating qualitative traits (morphology, color, etc.).
Initially developed for the agri-food industry, market professionals noted that this project could find applications in the pharmaceutical industry for finding seed varieties containing a high number of molecules of interest.
New technology for measuring water activity
Our client developed a new chilled mirror Aw-meter capable of taking fast, precise measurements with no need for ventilation inside the measurement chamber. This lack of ventilation, obtained through specially-designed, optimized geometry, considerably reduces fouling of the device, thus simplifying maintenance.
Initially destined for the agri-food and cosmetics sectors, pharmaceutical laboratories expressed clear interest in this device.
Our client developed polymers containing non-natural information that can be used as forensic markers. They use sequential polyurethane codes as molecular barcodes to mark any type of polymer film, plastic (extruded or injected), inorganic (ceramics, silicon chips), liquid (inks, oils, latex) or even textile materials.
This technology was originally developed for the secure documents market such as banknotes and passports. However, the market professionals surveyed for this technology thought that the pharmaceutical sector would be particularly interested in its use for combatting forgeries.
It cannot be emphasized enough, a good market segment for an innovation is a market with a need that is already mature. 70% of innovation failures are due to a lack of market need.
Do you have several potential markets? Capitalize on them to unlock the potential of your project.
What other fields of application have you identified?