International plastics producer
Identification of 12 new application fields for an already existing technology
Pinpointing new problems for existing solutions
How can new markets for existing technologies be identified?
Our client, a large international company, produces material that has a specific barrier function against certain chemical elements and substances. This material is mainly used in the food sector: It protects the packaged food against harmful external influences and extends the shelf life significantly.
The company is currently searching for further business opportunities and markets in order to capitalise on this successful product, and as such, want to find answers to the following questions: In which other fields can this material be used and where do the specific properties of the material provide benefits? In which application fields is a barrier function needed or advantageous? Where does this material create an added value compared to already existing solutions? By using a methodologically valid and structured search process, answers for these questions can be found.
Solutions by winnovation
- To find a solution for this task, the Technological Competence Leveraging (TCL) method was applied. This method was developed for the systematic identification and evaluation of new markets and business opportunities for an existing product or an established technology. The core idea is to overcome functional fixedness in order to allow for a creative approach to extending the problem-solving capacities of this technology.
- As a first step, the main user benefits of the material were determined. These benefits were then used as a starting point for the second step, the explorative search for alternative application fields in different industries. More than 70 possible application fields were identified and evaluated with the help of expert interviews, online communities, expert fora and secondary literature.
After an intensive search and evaluation phase, winnovation was able to present 12 new application fields in diverse industries. The fields were then evaluated by the client and used as a starting point for the development of new markets for the materials/technology.