International, multidisciplinary research, development and innovation (RD&I) should primarily result in the market launch or update of products. This can be a challenge as traditionally any public co-funding for RD&I stops well before a product is launched. This can lead to the so-called ‘commercial death valley’. A clear business case should be an initial step in RD&I Planning. During the implementation of RD&I projects market analysis needs to be continued and the last steps planned to take results through to market launch.

RD&I ‘Steps to market’ include to:

  • Apply innovation management as overarching principle
  • Analyse user needs
  • Analyse market opportunities to be exploited
  • Analyse innovation potential and advances beyond state of the art
  • Analyse products already on the market
  • Determine key market applications
  • Determine unique selling propositions
  • Determine market sizes, growth rates, trends, segments and early adopters
  • Determine potential turnover, market share, sales expectations, return on investment and profit
  • Determine capital investment policy and funding requirements and funding mix
  • Determine barriers and risks to market take-up
  • Determine marketing, sales and distribution effort
  • Develop strategies for knowledge management and protection (with network partners)
  • Pinpoint suitable business partners
  • Develop and refine business models and plans for the commercialisation of the RD&I project results
  • Plan specific activities to cross ‘commercial death valley’ such as demonstration, further testing, advanced prototyping, pilot lines, performance verification and validation with suitably certified users
  • Facilitate and maintain sustainable business relationships between international partners
  • Negotiate sales agreements with customers for the supply of products and services