Identifying and Evaluating Market Opportunities

Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results

ISBN: 978-1-78635-238-5, eISBN: 978-1-78635-237-8

ISSN: 1048-4736

Publication date: 2 August 2016


This chapter is designed for use by commercialization teams evaluating the commercial relevance of a new invention. To be relevant commercially, an invention must create value in one or more markets, which involves solving a problem or satisfying customer needs currently unmet. Unmet needs create market opportunities, and the goal is to identify and evaluate the profitability of these opportunities. The chapter provides an overview of concepts and techniques commonly used in the process. Important distinctions between market and industry concepts are introduced along with common rubrics for categorizing inventions in terms of their technological and market implications. These concepts are then used to discuss the roles of prior experience, lead users, and brainstorming in identifying market opportunities for various types of inventions. Techniques covered include market analysis, Porter’s five forces of industry profitability, analysis of political, economic, social, and technical environments (PEST), and the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). The use of these techniques is illustrated for two startup commercialization teams.




The authors thank Jessica Walling, Billy Wang, and Walter Voit for their sharing their experiences in FloMera and Syzygy, and Michael Roach for his insightful comments on earlier versions of this chapter.


Thursby, M. and Berbari, M. (2016), "Identifying and Evaluating Market Opportunities", Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results (Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth, Vol. 26), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 33-58.

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