Research – Pursuing Whitespace Opportunities

Resource Type
Research Project
Sridhar Ranganathan, Mark Paczkowski, Mike Blackburn, Mark Aubart, Diana Hoyt, Larry Schmitt
New Product Development, Managing Emerging Technologies, Conducting Business Experiments
Associated Event
Research Project

2013 – 2015


Pursuing Whitespace Opportunities- A New Framework for Companies to Go Beyond Their Core – White Paper

Pursuing White Space Opportunities Report out – Member Summit 2015


Central R&D and Business Development teams 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 was 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 undertook interviews and case studies to see how different companies manage these opportunities. The scope of case studies included both successful and unsuccessful attempts. “Technical success, market failure” cases were analyzed to extract potential root causes. A set of organizational and operational models were created to document the alternative methods companies use to deal with these opportunities and rated by effectiveness. The objective was to develop a set of documented archetype models, along with an effectiveness ranking.



—Sridhar Ranganathan – Kimberly Clark
Mark Paczkowski – Lubrizol
Michael Blackburn – Cargill
Mark Aubart – Arkema
Diana Hoyt – NASA
Subject Matter Experts
Larry Schmitt – The Inovo Group