How to accelerate innovations and new business?

Companies have been struggling with going to the market for ages and the problem has become even more relevant in the fast-changing technological environment. Acceleration is a combination of processes, tools and methods that help companies go faster to the right market. The Accelerate project is here to tackle these challenges – Senior Scientist Päivi Jaring explains how it happens.

Päivi Jaring VTT

Accelerating an innovation is much more than creating the technology – an innovation must go to the market. An effective go-to-market strategy identifies the ways to reach potential users quickly in order to get feedback of the product and its features and this way adapt to users’ needs and requirements.

Various methods such as lean and agile have been developed for speeding up the time-to-market and for validating the customer needs in early phase of development, but still more experimental approaches to rapidly validate the match between the market need and their innovative technology are still needed. In short: more knowhow and tools on acceleration are needed, and the Accelerate project was launched.

Accelerate research project for European technology companies

Accelerate, an ITEA3 project, took the challenge of enabling the adoption of acceleration knowhow by European technology companies by focusing on two goals: large scale knowledge transfer on acceleration, and the introduction of the so-called validated learning process that systematically searches for the technology-market match by validating it against the business model.

In Accelerate, a four-phase model for acceleration was developed. The four phases of acceleration – the idea, problem/solution fit, product/market fit and scaling phase – are presented in the figure below. In Accelerate, the four-phase model was used in creating services based on technological innovation, advanced processes and new software technologies. The companies found the model also very suitable for accelerating existing businesses activities.

The Accelerate project has created a lot of visibility for this highly relevant topic and had a significant transformational impact on several of the participating companies in the form of new spin-offs, products, business models, and organisational culture change.  Various tools, such as an acceleration platform as a meeting place for start-ups and investors, and an acceleration self-test were developed to help companies in their acceleration process.

Acceleration phases, Accelerate project

Four phases of acceleration.

A to-do-list for business acceleration

Lessons learnt from the work done in the Accelerate project and its use cases can be summarized in the following eight points for new business acceleration:

  1. Step outside to recognize the real problems your potential customers are facing.
  2. Make the whole acceleration journey with and for your users and customers.
  3. Act fast but also invest time on eliciting material from the problem space, competitors and indirect competitors. There needs to be a well-argued problem statement.
  4. Never stop with idea generation and small experimentations – also with regards to your business model.
  5. Use the power of social media in identifying problems, finding solutions, creating awareness and new markets.
  6. Test and find the social media channels suitable for you.
  7. Progressively select and use KPIs to track customer experience, business performance and learning to guide your journey to scalable business.
  8. Use acceleration tools & mindset and startup-like structures regardless of your company’s age and size.

The above points suit to companies regardless of their size and domain.

More information

Päivi Jaring, Senior Scientist
Twitter: @PaiviJaring