The most successful ideas solve a need in the market. But how do you know if that’s the case with your idea? Keep reading for advice on how to give your idea the best chances of succeeding.
Success is not a given, and few inventors can be sure from the get-go that their idea will go all the way. The journey from ideation to commercialization is often long and paved with lots of hard work. And if the solution doesn’t meet market needs, its lifespan may be rather limited.
Good ideas meet a need in the market, but it takes a lot of market insight to determine whether your idea holds water or not. That insight comes only by leaving the laboratory and heading out into reality. And while this discipline may be difficult, it is absolutely necessary.
“Identifying a need in the market is a must. If there is no need for your idea, it will be very difficult for your product to succeed. Therefore, it is important to adopt a pragmatic approach in terms of what the players in the market indicate about need and purchasing power,” says Esben Bragason, patent attorney at Plougmann Vingtoft, who works a lot with commercializing IP rights.
Below, Esben Bragason offers three ways to investigate whether your idea creates value in the market.
1. Understand your rights
You need to familiarize yourself with your intellectual property (IP) rights to give your idea the best chances of succeeding.
IP Rights is the legal entity that companies trade with and which you must utilize if you wish to trade with the right to using your idea. But, before you embark on the process of obtaining IP rights, there are several questions to ask yourself:
Is it possible to protect my product?
In Europe, there are certain rules about which products one can apply patent protection for. It is, for example, not possible to patent medical methods of treatment.
Is the product sufficiently inventive?
Your product must be unique for the patent authorities to grant a patent. If, for example, your product is a combination of two existing products, it may not be patentable.
Is my product industrially applicable?
Your invention must be able to create value before it makes sense to protect it via e.g. a patent.
Are you still in doubt about whether your idea qualifies for IP protection? Then head over to our five-step guide on that particular matter.
If the answer to the above questions is yes, it could be a sign that you are on the right track to commercializing your idea. Once you have your rights under control, you can move on to the next point.
2. Talk to industry stakeholders
It is imperative that you seek out people with expert knowledge of the matter, if you want to properly identify whether there is a need in the market that you can use to target your commercialization strategy. Try to think about experts or companies that could become future partners or customers.
Market players hold unique knowledge about whether there is a need for your particular solution. In fact, they may even be able to help identify new problems that your solution could remedy. Additionally, most companies are open to inquiries about new technologies, as they are often on the lookout for new solutions themselves.
Try to ask them whether the current solutions on the market meet the company’s needs sufficiently. Also try to introduce your own solution in general terms, and explain what problems your idea solves.
3. Think about alternate applications
It is easy to get stuck on the idea that your idea is best suited for a particular market. But there could be major benefits in thinking about whether your idea is also applicable in other industries.
Sometimes, the hardest step is to get a foot through the door on a market in the first place. Some industries are particularly difficult to enter due to entry barriers such as market size, number of competitors and closed value chains. As such, you should be open to the idea that your road-to-market may be shorter in another industry than the one you originally thought. Starting with the industry that gives you the best chances of breaking through in the first go could therefore be a good idea.
Once you have shown that your product works in one market, it is often easier to enter other markets. For that reason, it is important that you figure out which alternative applications your idea has in other markets. This can be done by conducting an application analysis. Based on this knowledge, you can make conclusions about the market and current trends for each application.
If you follow the steps laid out above, you are well on your way to understanding the benefits of your idea as well as the need for it in different markets. Further, these elements are essential when developing a strategy for how to commercialize your idea. Beware though, there are still more challenges to conquer ahead.
Our commercialization experts have extensive experience in preparing market and application analyzes in most technology-driven industries. Contact us, if you want us to help you commercialize your idea.