There’s a well-known hazard on the path to commercialisation of innovative products and ideas: the Valley of Death. It’s the large, inescapable gap between the early-stage development of a new product and the mass market acceptance of it. It’s the space where new ideas disappear, having failed the readiness tests for commercial sale. Those tests relate to management capability, insufficient funding, timing, incorrectly identified goals, and inadequate business models. The Valley of Death claims a lot of casualties.
NASA developed a scale of nine technology readiness levels (TRLs) to explain the journey from research to commercialisation.
- Basic principles observed
- Technology concept formulated
- Experimental proof of concept
- Technology validated in a lab
- Technology validated in a relevant environment
- Technology demonstrated in a relevant environment
- System prototype demonstrated in an operational environment
- System complete and qualified
- System deployed in an operational environment
The academic sector is not immune to the hurdles at each level. Substantial research is undertaken in universities and very little ends up seeing the light of day as a transformed marketable product or service for exactly the same commercialisation challenges. Most academic research doesn’t get exposure to real world environments, which is where relevance and business models are most heavily tested.
The challenge for businesses under pressure to be constantly innovating is that it takes a different set of skills to conduct research and development than it does to deliver a new product to market. Unless a business is big enough to cover that product lifecycle from lab to test kitchen to tabletop with in-house expertise and the funding to match, the Valley of Death is a very real obstacle. It makes sense to join forces to mature a new product through the Valley’s validation phase, testing it and iterating on feedback with a commercialisation partner, and ultimately emerging with a marketable product that stands successful, having found economic viability through the process.
That’s where FAPIC comes in—partnering with innovative business in the food industry that can’t feasibly conduct that level of validation on their own. We work with you to co-create a mature, commercial product that’s ready for purchase. Ask us how.