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EPFLx: Find the right markets for your innovation - A tool for entrepreneurs and innovators for choosing which markets to play in.

Learn how to apply the Market Opportunity Navigator - a three-step tool for identifying, evaluating and strategizing market opportunities - to get the most value for your innovation.

6 weeks
3–4 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

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Starts Feb 23

About this course

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As entrepreneur or innovator you are trained to run fast, but…Are you running in the right direction?

Choosing the right market for your innovation is the biggest, and trickiest, question for innovators. Research has shown that all too often entrepreneurs don’t spend enough time identifying and researching their market opportunities – instead they jump at the first opportunity that looks good, and fail to properly evaluate and leverage other opportunities. This common mistake often leads them to choose the wrong market or lock themselves into one specific direction.

In this course, you will learn how to set a promising strategy, by using a business tool called the Market Opportunity Navigator.

This tool offers an easy to apply framework to better identify, evaluate and focus on the right market opportunities.

It encompasses three simple steps, with dedicated worksheets to guide you through the process:

  1. Search broadly- to generate your set of market opportunities
  2. Assess deeply- to evaluate your options and compare their attractiveness
  3. Strategize smartly- to focus on the most attractive opportunity while remaining agile

This structured tool works for entrepreneurs and managers in established companies, when-ever they need to plan or rethink their strategy.

The Market Opportunity Navigator will also facilitate the development of strategic marketing plans, and help entrepreneurs and innovators in strategizing their commercialization activities. In other words, the Market Opportunity Navigator can serve as a key tool in both marketing and strategic management.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills:Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Commercialization, Market Opportunities, Strategic Marketing

What you'll learn

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  • How to generate a set of market opportunities stemming from your core strengths
  • Methods for evaluating the attractiveness of market opportunities in a comprehensive manner
  • How to make an informed strategic choice, that will increase your chances of focusing on a promising market
  • Ways to balance focus and flexibility- two critical aspects for gaining success
  • How to develop a mindset that nourishes open mindedness and receptiveness to adaptation
  • How to apply a structured decision making process that facilitates team discussions and debates

Week 1- Introduction
Presenting the challenges of choosing which markets to play in, and the basic logic behind the Market Opportunity Navigator

Week 2- How to generate your Market Opportunity Set
Presenting the first step of the Market Opportunity Navigator: how to apply Worksheet 1 to decouple your core abilities and to identify different applications for different sets of customers. The output is your Market Opportunity Set

Week 3- How to evaluate your market opportunities
Presenting the second step of the Market Opportunity Navigator: how to apply Worksheet 2 to evaluate the Potential of a market opportunity and the Challenge associated with capturing its value. The output is your Attractiveness Map.

Week 4- How to design your Agile Focus Strategy
Presenting the third step of the Market Opportunity Navigator: how to apply Worksheet 3 to design a smart portfolio of Backup and Growth Options around your Primary Market Opportunity. The output is your Agile Focus Strategy.

Week 5- Implications and benefits
Presenting the implications of the Agile Focus Strategy, and the benefits of applying the Market Opportunity Navigator over time, and in concert with other well known business tools.

Learner testimonials

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"What I liked about this course is its practicality. I was taught and then able to exercise what I learned. I love this considering it is how I learn best. My favorite course by far, really well structured."

"An awesome course. I liked the structure and the content: new innovative tool to support businesses + hands-on assignments."

"Content is very interesting and works well with other methods in the market."

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is this tool only applicable for general-purpose technologies?
No, this tool also works great for more contextualized technologies, and even for unique abilities that are not technological in nature. Almost any ability or technology can be de-linked from its current product and be characterized ‘in its own right’ to understand its generic functionalities. The Market Opportunity Navigator can therefore help to discover new market opportunities- even if you think that your technology is quite specific. Thus, it can make sure that your firm will not get locked-in and lose its agility.

There are so many things to do in a startup, and so little time. Why should I take the time to invest in this process?
Time is one of scarcest resources for entrepreneurs. However, because it is so rare, it must be spent wisely. Usually, our natural tendency is to invest our time in troubleshooting and short-term problems. But, this approach may turn to be problematic in the long term.
Remember that your choice of market opportunity is one of most important decisions you will make. You should therefore take the time to think widely and comprehensively about your options before you commit to a specific direction, and make sure that your choice is smart, so that you will not regret it when it's too late.

The common assumption is that startups must adopt a 'laser sharp focus' to be successful. How does it fit the Agile Focus approach?
In our studies we have done comprehensive research, involving hundreds of firms, to understand this question. Our studies clearly show that a laser-sharp focus on one narrow market opportunity doesn’t pay off for most firms! On the contrary: firms that implemented a wider approach – by consciously keeping related market options open – outperformed those who didn't, mainly because of their greater agility. Laser sharp focus therefore comes at the price of flexibility, while Agile Focus helps you manage the delicate balance between staying focused and staying flexible! And this is very important, especially for startups.

I don’t have a business idea in mind- is this course for me?
Anyone who is interested in improving their skills in commercializing innovations and setting a valuable strategy is welcome to join this course.
It doesn’t matter at all if you already have an idea for a startup or not, or even if you want to found a startup or if you prefer to work in an established firm.
The knowledge that you will gain here will give you an advantage either way!

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