Initial Submission: Market Opportunity Assessment (MOA)
Individual proposal submission 30% contribution to assessment
The Initial Assignment
To start the innovation project, students will learn how to tell the difference between a good idea in a casual conversation and a great scalable business opportunity. In this exercise, you will identify and define a market opportunity and present the opportunity in a report. Each student will create a ‘market opportunity assessment’ proposal in which you will analyse and describe your innovation opportunity. Proposals will be posted on the class website and open to ‘review’ among our fellow innovation funding students. Venture capital will be allocated among proposals reflecting market confidence in the innovation idea.
This project is not intended to be a business plan for an innovation idea, but rather an investigation of the feasibility of an idea and viability of commercializing it. As such, your project should reflect an understanding of the core concepts that you have been taught in this course. It should also reflect a concerted analysis on your part to investigate the idea proposed.
You should identify an innovative business venture (new business, product or service) opportunity from the FastCompany innovation website and perform an initial analysis to understand whether, why and how your opportunity can be turned into a scalable business. In your written analysis, you should tell the “story” of your proposed innovation by addressing as much of the following as possible and appropriate to your specific innovation concept:
1. Concept and Vision.
Where did your idea come from (e.g., a new technology, another market)? Explain what the market opportunity is and what your solution might be. What makes your solution particularly compelling? How does it make meaning and the world a better place? Do you have personal experiences with this market? Is there existing intellectual property that you must license or new intellectual property you must develop in order to pursue this opportunity? Has anyone tried something like this before? If so, why did they fail or succeed, and why is the opportunity still attractive?
2. Market Analysis.
What industry or sector of the economy are you addressing? Why is this market attractive? What segment of the overall market are you pursuing? What market research data can be gathered to describe this market need? What are the total industry or category sales over the past three years? What is the anticipated growth for this industry? If this is a new market, what is the best analogous market data that illustrates the opportunity? Project the potential market size and growth for your opportunity.
3. Customers and Customer Development.
This is extremely important. You need to have a clear idea of who your target customer is. The only way for you to be able to do this is to “get out of the building” and speak with your potential customers. You will need to answer questions such as: What does the customer need? Why does the customer need it? What is the customer using today? What is thecustomer willing to pay for your solution? Why? How will you reach this customer? You should include both primary (or first-hand) research and secondary research, emphasizing primary over secondary.(To do a quantitative research method by applying questionnaire)
4. Competition and Positioning.
Who else serves this customer need? Who might attempt to serve this market in the future? What advantages and weaknesses do these competitors and would-be competitors have? What share of the market do specific competitors serve? Are the major competitors’ sales growing, declining, or steady? What are the barriers to entry for you? What are the barriers to entry for additional competitors? How could partners and allies best help you overcome competition from established enterprises or other start-ups?
5. Business Model and Go-to-Market Philosophy.
Now that you have discovered an opportunity and talked to potential customers, how will you turn it into a viability business opportunity? How will you make money and when do you expect your innovation to be profitable? What is the major risk to address right away (e.g., market or technical)? In other words, which hypothesis regarding product or market strategies needs to be tested right away?
The list above has no implied order. Some innovation champions start with a well-defined concept and then try to identify a market for their idea; others start by studying a market and then stumble upon an idea. Also, please keep in mind that the specific data and information you provide will vary according to the type of opportunity you choose to analyse and the nature of organization sponsoring it.
I recommend five basic steps in the process of analysing an opportunity:
Identify potential opportunities.
Combine your own personal experiences and creativity with external forecasts and trend analysis. How is the world changing with respect to new technologies? What is the impact of globalization on current solutions? What new requirements will those changes produce? Recent media articles and blogs on trends are often a good place to start.
Define your purpose and objectives.
Identify your most promising opportunity, being careful to discriminate between an interesting technological idea and a viable market opportunity. Prepare an outline which will help you to determine what types of data and information you need to demonstrate the attractiveness of your chosen opportunity.
Gather data from primary sources.
It is crucial for you to obtain data from primary sources. Potential champions will place more trust in well conducted primary research than in stacks of data from secondary sources. There is simply no substitute for talking to potential customers from the target market in order to validate the opportunity you have identified. Consequently, we prefer that you spend time gathering data from primary, not just secondary, sources.
Gather data from secondary sources.
Countless secondary sources exist on the web and in the HCT’s various library resources. Try not to get too bogged down in financial and accounting data.
Analyse and interpret the results.
Persuasively summarize your results.
A key success factor for a successful project is the depth of your analysis and what you learned from it. If after careful research you have determined that your business idea is not as promising as you originally thought, it is totally acceptable to present a MOA that describes why your idea may make sense now in the short term but not necessarily be the next big thing. An honest, rigorous analysis of an idea that does not survive further scrutiny is preferable to either (a) a half-baked presentation of an idea you are unsure of, or (b) an enthusiastic job of over selling for your current idea, even though you know it is problematic.
Proposal submissions should be ‘clear and concise’ … ‘purposeful and persuasive’. Be sure to sell the story with conviction.
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