Monday, October 3, 2011

Exploit That R&D!

Exploit That R&D!

My colleagues and I have charted up several years experience exploiting R&D projects that our company is involved in. In many of the projects we found that the process would start well, the market was analysed, the competitors charted, the USPs of our project results neatly identified, and so on. However we found that common to most of the projects was a point where we didn’t know what to do next. If we had had a business model for delivering a clear value proposition then fine, we could have proceeded to develop business plans for taking it to market. We would have run our best and worst case scenario analysis, totted up our financial sums and had some nice ROI figures. But HOW was the problem. How should this technology be provided? Where is the business? We have a consolidated result, some clever technology, unique in the world, but how do we move from collaboratively building something to practically selling it? “Open source” I hear someone shout. “In a cloud” someone else calls out. It seems that often at this point in the exploitation process, standard practice is to pick the best candidate from a list of contender models. A pragmatic solution perhaps, but one that overlooks many of the more subtle or innovative models. What is more, it’s an approach which lacks a unifying principle to allow each model to be reduced to the raw differences which separate them.

So over the last year or so, we realised that we had unintentionally been developing a technique do deal precisely with that big hurdle. The technique uses a value chain to generate business models from scratch, consequently providing both a common basis for comparisons and an exhaustive breakdown of the options. Although still fairly new, variations of this bottom-up technique have been used in several projects to date with good results and it was felt that it was stable enough to describe in a whitepaper and to share it with the community. Moreover when this technique was formalised during the writing phase, it was applied to existing businesses such as LinkedIn and Facebook, the iPhone and Canonical, and was seen to also be a viable technique for classifying the models of existing companies. The results are explored in a forthcoming paper at the e-challenges conference later this month. The whitepaper itself was presented last week at the Internet of Services collaboration day in Brussels, and is available free of charge at scribd. Funnily enough, as a consequence of the presentation, Jennifer Zaino from then contacted me and we had an interesting chat about some exploitation best practices in general in the context of R&D projects.

So all in all, it’s been a busy few days! For more information on this check out the whitepaper and accompanying presentation on scribd: and

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