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Very often the burning question is — given current trends not only in our own markets but in the world at large… culture, technology, governments, economies, and so forth — where does the next big opportunity lie for our business?
This broader question encompasses many related queries…
- Does the next big opportunity lie in our core markets, in adjacent markets, or in entirely new markets?
- What key trends are happening that may spell opportunity for us, yet we've overlooked?
- Given projected advances in core technologies underlying our offerings, where will our portfolio intersect important trends to create breakthrough new opportunities waiting to be capitalized upon?
- What might that do for our business?
- What happens if we miss an opportunity while someone else seizes it? Is that a threat?
- What might that do for our business?
- When and where do we need to pivot… new technologies, new products, new services, and new business models?
- Is there value in pursuing opportunities outside our core markets even if they are not large?
How does trend–timing play into this go / no–go decision?
- When will our markets be ripe for disruption, and how can we ensure we are the ones doing the disrupting and not the ones being disrupted?
These are all questions relating to the opportunity space surrounding your business — also known as its white space. They, and a long list of similar questions, lie at the heart of Opportunity Scouting.
Ultimately, the question that Opportunity Scouting seeks to answer is… What is the white space around us and how can we tap into that space in the most effective manner possible? How can we use this white space to remain relevant, and to continue delivering market–winning experiences for our customers – both those of today and those of tomorrow? Opportunity Scouting seeks to answer this question by uncovering both the currently untapped white space and the future potential white space for a business.
We are very skilled and experienced at helping companies explore their white space. We bring a highly–informed outside perspective to the quest, and we tap into the broadest possible insights to get at these questions in as objective, yet imaginative, a manner as possible.
The Opportunity Scouting Engagement typically follows these steps:
- We begin by listening to you so as to understand your current business strategy and how this plays into emerging markets, trends, and the potential white space around you.
- We next gather insights about your business so that we can build a profile of it. These include your organizational size and structure, your brands, your culture, your technologies, your products and services, your geographic footprint, your operational processes, your business' strengths and weaknesses, your broader business ecosystem and the capabilities that affords you, and your high–level financial figures. The profile we build from these insights sets the foundation for framing what will become your best new opportunities.
Ultimately, any opportunities we identify must be able to fit and integrate into your business without overly disrupting it from within, or otherwise point to places where you need to launch new business units or spin out new business ventures.
- If relevant, we profile certain of your competitors and their expected future actions.
- At the heart of this work, we undertake in-depth original research to gain a deep level of insight around key situations that are impacting your business and your markets. One of the key things we go out looking for is "what's not there"… the missing pieces that no one is consciously aware of (yet). Working in this world of unmet, unarticulated needs provides clues about how best to tap into the white space.
We also pay particular attention to key future trends that will further impact your business, particularly in regards to emerging markets that are experiencing, or are poised to experience, rapid growth together with no established solution to major user tensions. This is the forward vector. Also, to the extent that it is a part of your innovation strategy, we look at adjacent markets that you have not yet tapped into, so as to understand the fit and what sorts of market development work would be required to break into those spaces. This is the lateral vector.
Our research always involves a certain amount of field work, wherever that might take us in the world. This often takes place in centers of customer encounter, at conferences and focused trade shows, and in the general public marketplace. It also includes a hands–on exploration of your company, your organization, and your relevant centers of operation.
- Given the insights we are able to cultivate from all of the above steps, we synthesize the viable opportunity space for your business from the intersections of these trends, needs, and capabilities, including within core, adjacent, and new markets (and including potential nascent or not–yet–existent markets). We employ the oblique examination process from the Flight Board Innovation Method to conceive and build new value models that fit these opportunities.
- When finished, we prepare for you a formal Innovation Opportunity Assessment Report detailing our findings, insights, and recommendations around specific short term, medium term, and long term market / innovation opportunities.
- We then travel to your office and present these findings, insights, and recommendations to your leadership team. We can also lead workshops with any of your staff in order to work these insights and recommendations deeply into their thinking and work.
- As desired, we can assist you with additional follow–on work to further qualify a particular opportunity. This can include more detailed Insights Research, product and service concepting, or developing the detailed business case for a specific opportunity.
To learn more about engaging us for Opportunity Scouting, refer to our Discovery Engagement page.