How can GreyB help you in getting the first mover advantage in research?


The early bird gets the worm.

This adage is well-suited when we discuss the first mover advantage for companies that enter markets early and launch products well in advance. But, an early mover is not always the company that innovates first. It can also be the one that produces and markets the product before others to establish product/service loyalty before other entrants to the market. Because if someone who innovates first is not the one who markets first, they may not get the returns as expected.

Though not every innovation is about commercialization, some companies are able to attain first movers advantage by applying for patents way before others. Then they leverage that dominance to make the game even tougher for other players by making their innovation a standard in the industry.

One possible example of having a standard product in your name is that of QWERTY keyboards. Any company can come up with a new type of keyboard tomorrow, but the industry has accepted QWERTY keyboards far and wide that replacing them seems next to impossible. Apart from having a product labeled as standard, the advantages of an early mover do not end here:

  1. High margins
  2. No cost of switching clients
  3. High time for experience gathering in the new market
  4. The advantage to expand in favorable segments and options to limit the penetration of new players

Does losing the first mover advantage mean giving up?

If the first mover opportunity is lost, it does not mean the ball is no more in your court. You can still capture a huge share of a market by becoming an early adopter– it’s easier said than done. So let’s discuss a strategy that can help you achieve both first mover and early adopter targets. 

How to become an early adopter?

The main requisite for this is to locate the weak signals of breakthroughs at early stages that can guide R&D teams to make a move well ahead of competitors and launch a product ahead of others.

This is possible if you can track innovations without effort. Also, you will require hints of the advancements taking place in your domain. Further, you require a list of existing solutions to your domain’s technological hurdles so that you can compare the proposed solutions.

Let’s have a look at an example to make it clear. Let’s consider a researcher in the battery industry is working to improve the energy density of a battery. A part of the process includes checking what type of research is happening around the globe. This information collection task is tedious and time-consuming, which will take him anywhere from a few days to some weeks.

Now consider this scenario– what if the same information is available in your mail with just a few clicks and can be accessed in minutes?  Further, the data is customized to drive insights based on your research area. Now, this is something that can help you cover the gap to becoming an early adopter.

How to become an early mover?

What if I tell you that you need not invent something to become a first mover? The Minnetonka Corporation, for example, in the 1980s, had an early mover advantage over liquid soaps though they weren’t the inventors of the liquid soap. William Sheppard was the original inventor who filed his patent on liquid soap more than a century ago in 1865.

Robert Taylor, Chairman, and Founder of Minnetonka, first found a gap for innovation – he found bar soaps look ugly in bathrooms – and then an already existing solution to close the gap. After first selling a liquid soap called Crème Soap on Tap in some boutique shops, his firm created a mass market version, Softsoap, in a unique dispenser.

Softsoap became an instant hit, and in 1987, Colgate-Palmolive bought it for $61 million. Thus, your team(s) can get the first mover advantage by employing innovations from parallel and sometimes unrelated industries.

Again, like in the above example of the battery domain, you require the right information at your disposal to find these parallel and unrelated industry innovations. How will you get that? Let’s find out:

The right research is the key to getting first mover advantage

It always seems easier than done, and probably without targeted research of your industry and other industries (for cross-industry collaboration), it would be like beating around the bush. Therefore, availing of GreyB’s Landscape Analysis can give you

  1. …dynamic view of the industry, rather than a static picture. 
  2. …an option to do deeper analysis on the basis of your own criteria and concerns.
  3. …information of similar kinds of solutions proposed in a parallel and unrelated industry

All you have to do

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