The business core activities are in research and development in a number of areas including the space industry where the primary customer is the European Space Agency (ESA). Due to EU expenditure pressure, ESA had signalled a reduction in budgets that could potentially result in a reduction in the demand for the companies services. The Managing Director was keen to explore the potential value and demand for the companies’ intellectual property within broader commercial markets.
In order to understand the potential value of innovation within the company, Optimise4 needed to gain a solid understanding of technologies and specialist knowledge held within the company. This information would then be used to inform a detailed market study to identify any potential wider demand for such technologies. It was also important to assess the potential size of this demand and the extent of competition and the specific market barriers to entry. Finally to make recommendations as to the most attractive and appropriate route to market for each of the technologies with an estimate of the investments that may be required to achieve a successful outcome.
In order to conduct an effective audit of the companies innovations, the O4 consultant needed to gain the trust and confidence of the organisations scientific and research staff. This was achieved by a combination of openness and information sharing using a shared data environment, questionnaires and a series of facilitated workshops involving the majority of staff. These tailored workshops gave the scientific staff the opportunity to speak openly about their individual specialisms and to answer questions and engage in discussions with the wider team members. Each of the individual innovations were captured into documents and explored against the elements of a generic business model for using later in the market research phase. The data was then gathered for the Optimise4 consultant to produce a summary value propositions for each innovation. Considered a vital requirement for assessing market potential.
The market analysis was conducted and examples of potential applications for each technology explored and documented. Companies who were considered to be potential customers were approached, competition assessed and the features of each of the innovations modelled to assess potential benefits. For each innovation a market appraisal was produced in the form of a market model complete with the key recommended steps outlined to achieve a successful market entry.
For the successful commercialising of IP Optimise4 was able to identify and size the market and the potential barriers to entry and potential partners needed to undertake a successful market entry campaign.
The project had provided the research company with a valuable and realistic option for the company to consider should a downturn in budgets from the EU materialise. The client had gained a good understanding of the market value of their IP providing the senior management with the information to make an informed assessment of the organisations future business strategy. The Optimise4 process had exposed all staff to real and realistic business opportunities that could be pursued in the future, helping to break down the barriers between scientific research specialists and the business development resources, a significant barrier to growth in many similar organisations solely reliant on government-funded contracts. The organisation now has realistic choices in determining its own future.