Lean Canvas: an essential tool for bringing research to the market

There are many reasons why a research result (either a service or a product or a process) is not used once the EU funded project ends.

Issues like no real need, not selecting the right early adopter or running out of cash could result in failure and prevent the achievement of the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) required to scale up. To avoid these issues, approaching the end of the project with a plan is crucial.

But how do we better prepare ourselves?  How do we build a sound “users” base? Dealing and solving problems is the foundation for building a sound and sustainable “customer” base. Every customer has a problem, but every problem has a solution. On the contrary not every solution has a problem…

The goal is to define a plan providing relevant indicators to check if our “use model” is doing well, to validate our assumptions. if we apply the scientific method not only to our lab experiment but also when testing the use of our results, our “out of the lab” activity, we may be able to still find some room to manoeuvre if things do not go as we assumed.

There are some useful tools like Lean Canvas, which was originally designed to help start-up businesses, but which can also be adapted to make the link between the “lab” and the “use” by our target “clients”.

Lean Canvas: an essential

Lean Canvas allows you to create a pathway to be followed, where each step to take matters.

First, it is essential to identify the problem and investigate its alternatives. List three problems and concisely describe how they can be solved. Next, segment your customer base into target groups, those suffering from the problems which you have already listed. Connect them and the problem to achieve success. The clearer the customer group is, the more concrete the validation of the problem will be.

Secondly, define a unique value proposition. This mean outlining concretely what makes you different from competitors. Also, why you are worth purchasing or investing in, so the customers do not choose any other alternative solution. It all starts with a problem, so make sure to explain in a realistic way how you are going to solve that problem better than everyone else.

For the next step you must go deeper and write down the most distinctive elements of the solution. Also, how you can deliver your unique value proposition. Think about what your solution is, what it can provide your customer with.

How to approach clients

Once you have clear in mind what you can offer, you must face one of the toughest problems you may have. How do you reach your customers? There are plenty of channels that can be used to approach the clients. However, it could be hard as it depends on the solution and the organisation. It is crucial to know who the customer of the solution is. Also, remember that the more precise the definition of the target group is the more precise the definition of the channel will be.

Finally, time to think about figures and money. Getting funds to cover the project you have implemented is complicated but vital. Think about various revenue streams to earn or raise money and consider how much funds could be gathered. You need to be as precise as possible, so connect it to the cost structure for operations and determine whether alternative sources of funding are necessary. Also keep in mind that the whole process should be monitored to understand if the pathway is going in the right direction. So, the last step is to define some metrics to measure your activity.

Do you need help drafting the business plan for your EU funded research? Horizon Results Booster can help you bring your research results closer to the market. This will be possible by developing an effective business plan and preparing to secure appropriate funding to implement project results.