Member Summit 2014 - Whitespace Opportunities

Pursuing Whitespace Opportunities ROR Stage: Gathering and analyzing data 

This ROR considers the challenge faced by Central R&D and Business Development teams who, at times, identify new opportunities that do not fit well with, and are not supported by, any of the current businesses of the company. In some cases, significant development effort on these opportunities may already have been expended. The choice is typically to table the opportunity, either by abandonment or by licensing the new technologies to third parties who can then build significant businesses using what they have licensed. The task of this ROR group is to identify proven, alternative means of value capture in situations like this. How do companies organize and operate to take a whitespace opportunity and nurture it to a point where either an existing business will recognize its value or the company creates an entirely new business division?

The working group proposes to undertake interviews and case studies to see how different companies manage these opportunities. The scope of case studies would include both successful and unsuccessful attempts. To the extent possible, “technical success, market failure” cases will be analyzed to extract potential root causes. A set of organizational and operational models will be created to document the alternative methods companies use to deal with these opportunities and they will be rated by effectiveness. The results will be shared at an IRI meeting and submitted for publication in RTM.

At the Member Summit, we plan to provide an overview of the project, solicit input from attendees in the form of live storytelling and a questionnaire to highlight successes and failures with respect to Whitespace Innovation within their organization. Finally, we will provide the session attendees with a glimpse at our findings to date based on the interviews completed.

Team Members: Sridhar Ranganathan (Kimberly-Clark), Mark Paczkowski (Lubrizol), Diana Hoyt (NASA), Charles Johnson-Bey (Lockheed Martin), Ovidiu Romanoschi (Church & Dwight), Mike Blackburn (Cargill), Mark Aubart (Arkema), Larry Schmitt (Inovo) (SME)