Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Technology first, need second?

The value of a commercial approach during innovation processes

Looking back, a lot of radical, society-altering innovations like telecommunications, airplanes or electricity emerged from a technology-first approach and provided solutions before humanity even knew the problem. But can radical innovations serve as a role model for how successful innovation is supposed to happen?

Most of today’s interesting innovations might not represent a fundamental change for society such as aircrafts, but they do have a profound impact on customers’ lives and habits. Coming from a science-oriented background, it can sometimes be difficult to transform an outstanding technology into a product to sell. Therefore, science-oriented innovators should think about the value of a commercial approach during the innovation process. While “The obstacles of turning ideas into business” have already been stated in a previous blog post, here are three strategic benefits in innovating processes of commercial-oriented organizations.

Customer centricity

Have a close look at the respective customer group and their stakeholders and define their particular needs. Adopting customer-centric thinking helps you to make sure your innovation provides a real solution for real customers and their real problems.

Lean approach and validation on assumption testing

Follow a lean approach while turning your idea into business means to question the idea and the use cases and to avoid wasting money and time in developing a product which is not needed. Validating assumptions about your business before starting it provides you with insights about the desirability of the product and your perceived business and pricing model.

Commercialization of opportunities

Introducing your product or service to the markets has significant benefits for your research organization. Working together with potential users helps you to develop your product according to their needs in order to improve the quality of customers’ lives. It also introduces your technology to a wide range of industry partners and investors often resulting in additional funding for further research. In addition, successful commercialization is also a source of additional revenue for your organization that can be re-invested in R&D, whether by licensing your technology to other companies or engaging in company building activities.

Coming from a science-oriented background, it is beneficial to consider a commercial approach during the innovation funnel in order to be successful on the markets. Therefore, it is not about deciding whether you should put technology or customers’ need first, rather product development should be a collaborative effort between science and business. Innovation and co-creation centers are a great way to collaborate with and benefit from different stakeholders in an inspiring environment.

If you are coming from a science-oriented research team, IRSUS provides you with go-to-market strategies and helps you turn ideas into successful business. All consortium partners have profound expertise in terms of commercialization of innovations and are dedicated to help you with market entries. Have a look at our services here.

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About Us

The Innovation Radar (IR) is an EC initiative focused on the identification of high potential innovations and the key innovators behind them in FP7, CIP and Horizon 2020 projects. It supports innovators by suggesting a range of targeted actions to assist them in fulfilling their potential in the market.


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 779990

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