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Today's R&D Charter: New Markets, Differentiated Products


By Mark E. Atkins

Having just returned from customer visits in Europe and the US, I was struck by a common message I heard from many of the companies I spoke with. Here at Invention Machine, we work with research and development executives across manufacturing sectors, and there seems to be a clear mandate coming from CEOs to these R&D executives and their teams.

The mandate I heard again and again is that the R&D teams need to find new markets for their products, and they need to bring more differentiated products to their existing markets.new markets differentiated products

The quest for new markets is not new, nor is it surprising. But now more than ever, companies are looking for ways to quickly identify new revenue sources by repurposing their existing products and technologies into new markets.

With budget pressures, competitive threats and myriad other challenges, CEOs want to find ways to easily and quickly diversify their market portfolio and find new sources of topline growth. Many companies have technologies or capabilities that are facing obsolescence or are under heavy competitive pressure in their primary markets. By identifying new markets for these products, companies can leverage the investment they’ve already made and secure additional revenue to cover the potential setbacks in their primary markets.

As an example, listen to this podcast where Invention Machine customer Chemtura describes how Invention Machine's innovation software, Invention Machine Goldfire, is helping them research new market opportunities.

The second clear mandate is the need to bring differentiated products to the market in the next three to four years to support long term corporate growth. Again, in response to the realities of fast moving markets, companies need to move quickly to replenish their product portfolios with market leading products.

Let’s face it – your primary products are becoming obsolete. The question is who will leapfrog them? Do you want to let your competition get the edge, or will you obsolete your own products with newer, better performing technologies that can keep your company on top of the market? The companies I met with are moving now to find ways to bring new, more differentiated products to market so they can maintain their market leadership.

The mandate is clear: R&D needs to find short and medium term revenue drivers for the company. Innovation is critical to a company’s success. How are you answering this call?