How to get first mover advantage in research?

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The early bird gets the worm.

This adage is true for companies that enter markets early and launch products well in advance. 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.

Not only in capturing market capture, early movers apply for a patent way before than others which help in market dominance. Then they leverage that dominance to make the game even tougher for other players by making their product a standard in an industry.

QWERTY keyboards are an example of such a product. Any company can come up with a new type of keyboard tomorrow, but the industry has accepted QWERTY keyboard far and wide that replacing seems next to impossible. Apart from these, being an early mover has further advantages like:

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

What to do when first mover advantage has already gone?

If the first mover opportunity is lost, you can capture a huge share of a market by becoming an early adopter– it’s easier said than done. 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 efforts. Also, you will require hints of the advancements taking place in your domain. Further, you require a list of already existing different solutions of technological hurdles of your domain so that you can compare the solutions proposed in them.

Let’s have a look at an example to make it clear. Let’s consider a researcher in 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 anywhere on the globe. This information collection task is tedious and time-consuming which will take him anywhere from a few days to some week.

Now consider this scenario– what if the same information is just a few click away and can be accessed in minutes?  Further, in a matter of hours, he can also drive insights relevant to his research area. Furthermore, he can do deeper analysis using different criteria like finding solutions that achieve an energy density greater than 500 Wh/Kg. Sounds great? Now, this is something that can help covering the gap to become 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 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. His firm, after first selling a liquid soap called Crème Soap on Tap in some boutique shops, 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 from unrelated industries.

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

The tool that can help you get the right information to get first mover advantage

The tool I was discussing in above examples which can give you…

  1. …an access to research in your tech area worldwide
  2. …An option to do deeper analysis on the basis of your own criteria and concerns
  3. …information of similar kind of solutions proposed in a parallel and unrelated industry

..is North Star.

It filters out relevant information using AI algorithms which helps it connect dots and make an information more meaningful for you. If you want to know how it does so and how it can help you solve your other R&D concerns, we can explain that. All you have to do is request a demo. You can do that here: Click here to get a demo

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