This is the third article in our series dedicated entirely to the Horizon 2020 Impact section. In the previous post we began to explore the foundations for curating a professional Horizon 2020 commercialisation plan. We discussed the importance in working with the right people. Knowing the right people to communicate with for this task (and where to find them) is an incredibly important first step. We advise to follow the previous link for complete details on this. Once in place, it is possible to progress to the official formation of the commercialisation plan. Therefore, in this article we’ll focus on the guiding principles and questions needed when preparing a Horizon 2020 commercialisation plan. As well, we’ll provide tips and insights for producing a highly competitive text for this section.
The ingredients for preparing a Horizon 2020 commercialisation plan
A good Horizon 2020 commercialisation plan should include the following key points of focus:
- potential need for the suggested new product / technology / service / method / process
- product’s commercial value
- business climate for which the product is aiming (users, market segment, territories, etc.)
- competition, be it direct or indirect
- any barriers that may prevent the product from reaching its goals
- “go to market” activities (sales / marketing / supply / distribution)
The above list helps to have an initial outline in mind. Keep this outline as a guide during work.
Asking the right questions
For each section mentioned above, there is a very helpful set of guiding questions to use. These questions will touch on the important information that must be discussed for each key point in the commercialisation plan. Use the questions below as guides in the process of preparing the text for the Impact section. When doing so, refer as well to our initial article which addresses the main pitfalls when writing the Impact section in Horizon 2020 proposals.
Questions about Users and Market
The goal for this section of the commercialisation plan is to reach the information that best describes the potential market and users of the product. It is imperative to understand their needs and what the market looks like.
To achieve this, begin with the following questions:
- Can the users of the project be identified? Can the users of the project be identified?
- Other aspects
- What are the needs of the users?
- Is there more than one set of needs? Per user/group of users?
- What are the priorities of these needs?
- Is it possible to prioritize the needs? Will an additional resource need to be utilized?
- Why will the users use the product? Refer to:
- Direct or indirect competition (See also next section).
- Value for money
- How can you show the demand?
- What is the size of the market?
- What is the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for this product?
- What is the source of information for that?
- Were surveys performed for this?
- What is your target, in respect to the TAM?
- Is there a need in educating the market? If so, how?
- What is the geographical distribution of the market and your product? Will this involve import/export activities? If so, to what extent and what are the expected costs? (Consider also tax and shipping issues).
- Are there any market barriers (legal, economical, language, regulations, etc.)? If so, how will these be bridged?
Questions about the Competition
Competition is a very important indicator for the market and the potential success of any product. Though intimidating at first, having competitors is good, as it shows market activity which your product can be a part of.
When discussing competition, it is important to consider both direct and indirect competition. Indirect competition, though tricky and difficult to spot, may be any product or effort that is not directly competing with your product, but its effect or impact overlaps or casts a shadow on the impact of your product.
Here are some example to help understand:
- while pollution reversing bicycles and wearable air purifiers are not similar products in direct competition, they both aim to reduce air pollution and therefore are an indirect competition to one another.
- the overlapping development of distributed computation capabilities for different purposes (Decision making, Industry 4.0, Smart homes etc.).
- disease/health monitoring apps which help one maintain a registry of day-to-day health data. These apps don’t only compete with each other, but also indirectly compete with local and more personal health monitoring and coaching options (e.g. community-based clinics or weight-watchers meetings).
This is why it is very important to clearly identify the indirect competition next to the direct competition.
Ask the following questions in order to best map your competitors:
- Who are your (direct/indirect) competitors?
- What are their shortcomings?
- How does your project address these shortcomings and provide a better solution?
- What are the product’s advantages in comparison to the competition?
- Are there any market barriers (legal, economical, language, etc.)?
Questions about the business model
The business model is the heart of the commercialisation plan. It combines input from all other parameters and suggests the modus operandi for reaching market share of the product.
Ask the following questions in order to clearly illustrate the business model for the project and product:
- Discuss the go-to-market strategy: what is the sales strategy? Directly to clients? Through marketing channels? Online? Offline?
- What are the marketing strategies? For example: events, conferences (booths), publications, presentations, website, liaising with key partners, etc.
- What is the revenue model?
- Will the product be sold?
- Will the product be available free of charge but earn income from advertising and/or for selling data gathered?
- If you don’t sell directly to end users, do you intend to use licensing or other business models?
- Are post-sale services a money making element?
- If you make money from sales: what is your pricing model and how did you choose it?
- Is the business model scalable?
- In how many countries do you already have presence with clients/ distributors/ staff/ offices?
- Are you commercialising with your own salesforce/ distributors/ partners/ the internet?
- Consider using different commercial channels for the different geographical areas in order to accelerate market penetration.
- You may need to have a separate approach per market segment/country.
- Know the different countries’ export regulation and licensing laws (do not forget about foreign import regulations). Engage with expert counselling.
- If there will be a need to localise the product – make sure to explain how it will be changed to meet local conditions.
- What are the (other) funding sources of the company / product / project?
- What is the supply chain?
Questions about the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
Intellectual Property is a very important aspect of any product development. In Horizon 2020 it is addressed explicitly both in the guidelines and in the consortium agreement. When crafting the commercialisation plan for your Horizon 2020 project, it is important to address and discuss this issue as well.
o do so, begin by asking the following questions:
- What is your IP status and strategy?
- What are your IPR assets?
- Answer may include: patents, copyright and related rights, trade marks, know-how, trade secrets, industrial designs, designs, drawings, reports, methods of research and developments, documented data, and description of inventions and discoveries.
- What is your strategy for knowledge management and protection of results?
- What are your measures to ensure commercial exploitation?
- How will joint ownership be treated?
These questions above can be used as a guide when working on the commercialisation plan of your project. By asking the right questions, and working with the relevant individuals on the answers, you’ll have the necessary materials to work with. The information can then be embedded throughout your Horizon 2020 proposal. If you have any more questions on creating a professional commercialisation plan for your project- contact us!