News Feed Item

Innovators Should Beware of "Fools Gold": Seeing Opportunity in Empty Market Spaces That Are Empty for a Very Good Reason

Look for Three Red Flags and Ask These Six Questions to Make Sure Your "Blue Ocean" and "Greenfield" Opportunities Are What You Think They Are

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 04/22/14 -- Innovators often use terms like "greenfield" opportunities and "blue oceans" to describe empty market spaces that appear to hold enormous growth potential. But often these empty "white spaces" exist for a reason that the innovator fails to see.

"Many great growth businesses came from creating new markets, so it's not hard to understand the attraction," says Scott D. Anthony, Managing Partner and head of the Asia-Pacific operations of the innovation consulting firm Innosight, and author of The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market (Harvard Business Review Press, May 2014). "But innovation requires specialized structures and systems to weed out the great ideas from the non-starters. Without the right innovation skill set, companies seeking big growth opportunities can go drastically wrong."

He cautions that innovators need to pay particular attention to three red flags that may indicate the market isn't what they think it is:

  • NO NEED: The presumed customer need isn't a real customer need -- even when research may identify and define a need, customers quite often say they will do things that they actually won't do.
  • BARRIERS TO ADOPTION: There are powerful stakeholders that can inhibit adoption of a new idea -- e.g., regulators, purchasers, or other market players.
  • POOR ECONOMICS: The fundamental economics of the space/idea aren't attractive.

"Executives and managers of every stripe need to resist the urge to continue doing the same thing that is making them successful today," says Anthony. "They need to see past the corporate culture, controls, and mindset of the moment to envision what will be driving growth five or ten years from now. But in doing so, they need to be realistic in their assumptions and projections. Not every great idea translates into a viable business or a commercial success."

Example: A medical tourism business that failed before launch.

Anthony points to an example that failed all three tests: a business based on medical tourism to Asia (e.g., Singapore, Thailand), where low cost and high quality might attract American customers. But the business model failed in three critical ways:

  • NO NEED: American patients showed tepid demand for all but a few expensive procedures.
  • BARRIERS TO ADOPTION: American hospitals were willing and able to lower prices on those procedures to attract patients to domestic providers.
  • POOR ECONOMICS: The economics of long-distance travel were not as attractive as travel to closer international medical sites like those in the Caribbean and Mexico.

Six key questions to ask before trying to create an entirely new market.

Anthony believes that innovators approaching "blue ocean" and "greenfield" opportunities need to ask some very tough questions, including:

  • Why hasn't this been done before?
  • Who are the people who might have done it?
  • Did they try?
  • Why did they or didn't they?
  • If it is obvious to us, why wasn't it obvious to other smart people who had opportunities to make money?
  • What do they know that we don't?

"'White spaces' exist because some technological, regulatory, or societal shift has opened up a new opportunity, or the innovator has a unique asset that suddenly makes an unreachable market reachable," says Anthony. "If that's the case then by all means proceed. Some people see markets before the world does. But if your future success is based merely on your superior intelligence, that you think you see something that others don't, then you need to proceed with a high degree of caution."

To arrange a conversation with Scott D. Anthony of Innosight, and/or receive a copy of The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market, contact Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller of Sommerfield Communications at 212-255-8386 or [email protected].

Scott D. Anthony is the Managing Partner of Innosight. Based in the firm's Singapore office, he leads its expansion into the Asia-Pacific region as well as its venture capital activities (Innosight Ventures). He has worked with clients ranging from national governments to companies in industries as diverse as healthcare, telecommunications, consumer products and software. He is the author of The Little Black Book of Innovation (Harvard Business Review Press, January 2012) and The Silver Lining (Harvard Business Review Press, 2009). He is the co-author of Seeing What's Next (Harvard Business Review Press, 2004) and The Innovator's Guide to Growth (Harvard Business Review Press, 2008).

About Innosight
Innosight is a strategy and innovation consulting firm that helps organizations navigate disruptive change and manage strategic transformation. We work with enterprise leaders to identify new growth opportunities, accelerate innovation initiatives, and build innovation capabilities. Innosight is based in Lexington, MA, with offices in Singapore and Lausanne, Switzerland.

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The Microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...