Read about some of the challenges we've helped our clients with.
How will digital health impact my business over a 5 year timeframe?
A client in the continence care industry wants to understand how adjacent industries are using connected health technology to create value, and to use these learnings to inform potential new products that could disrupt their existing markets.
Establish a process to identify future science and technology platforms
The client wanted to ensure the focus of R&D research was aligned with future science and technology trends. We undertook research to review government funding globally, mapping how university structures have changed and interviewing futurologists to build a picture of the key themes. These were prioritised with the client and further research undertaken to exemplify each area. Five new thematic areas not already on the clients horizon were identified and prioritised.
What technologies can change the material properties of packaging?
Specific properties were required from a packaging material that were not readily available and we were asked to explore the different technology options that might satisfy these specific criteria. We identified technology options that delivered against these criteria and recommended a leading technology in the space, which led to a partnership and substantial investment.
Who should be selected for a Scientific Advisory Board?
We identified experts with a specific interest in a key topic of strategic importance to the client by reviewing literature and undertaking detailed conversations. Experts were also evaluated on their level of engagement and willingness to participate in group debates. A Scientific Advisory Board was set up with the experts we identified and has been successfully running for a number of years providing guidance and insight to the client.
How can we build sensory science into our product development processes?
Sensory science has emerged as an academic discipline. It provides a scientific approach to understanding how our different senses respond to stimuli like food and drink. Our client wanted to understand how they could build advances in this area into their product development. By conducting a gap analysis, we identified an opportunity to make better use of ingredients which create a ‘trigeminal response’ in consumers. We provided the client with industry examples of where this approach had been successful and details about the new generation of products which have emerged. We listed commercially available sensate ingredients and highlighted products which deliver trigeminal effects such as warmth, cooling, tingling and salivation. We also provided information about some of the world-class practitioners in this field. In conclusion we made a series of recommendations on how the client could build in trigeminal experiences into their product mix and marketing strategies.
Where are the opportunities to leverage smart technologies and connectivity to enhance our surgical innovations portfolio?
Disruptive technologies with potential applications in healthcare are likely to be inspired from innovation across many industries. We tapped into our sister company Sagentia’s deep and global cross-industry technology expertise in Smart Devices and Connectivity, before extending and validating our understanding through interviews with key external stakeholders. This allowed us to efficiently understand the space and to assess relevant, high value opportunities to pursue.
What are the barriers to adoption of a disruptive material in the automotive industry?
Manufacturers were interviewed to understand function and economic constraints and drivers. Minimum performance requirements and critical success factors were established and the segments where resistance was likely to be less were identified. We then made recommendations of the most promising segments for entry in the automotive industry which were pursued further by the client.
What is the opportunity to enter the OTC diagnostic market?
Working for a company that wanted to take existing commercial assets into adjacent spaces, we described the market landscape for OTC home diagnostics including key trends, current and emerging products, technologies and key players. The process was used to identify areas of business opportunity and potential acquisition targets and JV partners. We identified an area of opportunity and the client successfully acquired a company in this space.
Which are the most suitable target markets for functional coatings?
Opportunities were hypothesised for functional coatings to add value to consumer and sporting goods for a major materials and chemicals supplier. The opportunities were evaluated against the client's key criteria through interviews with expert stakeholders and commentators including engineers and developers. We recommended opportunities and specific companies with needs for functional coatings that were
receptive to an approach from our client. They have now begun technology development to address these opportunities.
How can we introduce new products and services into garden care?
Our client wanted to understand the current product and service offerings aimed at garden care in order to identify white space opportunities. We created a framework to define and segment the innovation landscape and to characterise the activity in each domain including the types of products, benefit claims, key players, price points and level of activity. Through analysing the patterns across the space, we identified specific opportunities to compete and disrupt.
What opportunities are there to treat skin issues?
We mapped a landscape of skin issues faced by women. Insights gathered initially focused on the causes, measurement and treatments available now, versus what could be possible in 2-3 years. We also identified key industry players which formed part of the opportunity assessment. Following this research, we were able to identify and recommend areas of opportunity for treating specific skin issues.
What is the opportunity to deliver a digitally connected product?
A client with leading personal care brands recognised that the increase in digitally connected consumer products could have a significant impact on their business. We identified the threats and opportunities this presented by analysing case studies and interviews with key stakeholders and thought leaders. As a result, we significantly increased the client's ability to navigate and recognise future opportunities in this space.
What is the opportunity for a novel natural antimicrobial compound?
We described market segments with a need for antimicrobial compounds; key trends, current and emerging products, technologies and key players. The opportunity for a novel natural antimicrobial compound was tested with stakeholders to identify unmet needs and evaluate satisfaction with current solutions. As a result, we identified an opportunity for a novel natural antimicrobial compound to provide superior benefits to current solutions in a specific market sector.
What are the opportunities for a novel sensor technology in the in vitro diagnostics market?
A client has developed a novel sensor technology that is capable of measuring multiple analytes in whole blood. They wanted to understand where this technology could impact the in vitro diagnostics market in a point of care or a central laboratory setting, and which specific analyte panels would be most valuable.
What ‘natural’ strategies could be employed to replace sugar in a food product?
Sugar provides a number of functions in food along with sweetness. It was therefore of interest to identify ‘natural’ strategies that could enable the replacement of sugar whilst providing the required functionality without any negative side-effects. The client had already undertaken research in the area and so the project began with detailed client interviews to ensure the research explored the strategies of most interest. We recommended strategies that had the potential to allow sugar reduction in the clients products whilst enabling a clean label, and also recommended partners for collaboration.
How can liquids be accurately dispensed?
Our client wanted accurate reproducible delivery of small quantities of multiple liquids. The key challenge was the accurate dispense of small aliquots at a cost compatible with a product for consumer use. Oakland searched across industries to identify applicable technologies and companies receptive to partnership for further development. We concluded that a combination of partners would be required to develop a product in line with the client's needs and recommended relevant partners.
Which manufacturing companies make the best regional partners?
We identified and evaluated companies in key developing regions based on experience in these markets and specific manufacturing assets and capabilities. This was achieved through secondary research and detailed interviews with companies to probe expertise that would enable growth at low cost and risk whilst adhering to the companies sustainability and quality goals. We recommended partners of best fit against the agreed criteria, which were then engaged by the client to take forward manufacturing and business growth in these regions.
Which are the most suitable acquisition targets?
SMEs were identified with relevant technologies at a commercially viable stage of development. The companies were evaluated against the clients key criteria through interviews with senior stakeholders including CEOs, directors and VPs of Innovation. We then recommended companies with proven technologies that were receptive to partnership and/or acquisition by the client.
What technologies enable targeted release of flavour?
Rapid flavour release in the mouth was required from a high moisture product. This gave a number of technical challenges that needed to be overcome to ensure that flavour was only released once in the mouth of the consumer yet remained stable in product prior to consumption. Technology options were identified, evaluated and recommended that had the potential to give the perception of rapid flavour release in the mouth.
What is the opportunity to deliver a food product containing protein?
We undertook analysis of the market with respect to food products containing protein to identify the product categories, key players, claims, protein source and levels associated with these products. This was followed by interviews with eminent protein experts to understand if the product categories highlighted as being of potential business interest had validated scientific evidence to support any claims. We mapped benefit areas against product categories and scientific validity. We were then able to provide recommendations for areas to explore with near-term vs longer-term business potential.
What opportunities are there for novel materials in advanced wound care?
The client, a novel materials manufacturer, wanted to extend their penetration of the healthcare market by understanding the unmet needs within wound care that might be met by a new ‘material’. We constructed a market landscape using insights drawn from secondary information, and most valuably from stakeholder and expert interviews: This established an understanding of the functionalities that were valued across specific medical applications and important areas of under-performance. It also highlighted the technical and commercial trends that would impact product performance requirements and so shape market demand. The research enabled the identification of emerging product needs in the short, medium and long-term, potential innovations that may disrupt the market, potential uses of the clients material in current and future products. We provided a road map helping the client to consider an innovation program aligned to the likely evolution of the market
What technologies can accurately identify contaminants in product streams?
Our client wanted to identify and remove small plastic particulates from food processing streams. We mapped a landscape of possible technology options able to distinguish between different organic matter and identified potential solutions using secondary sources, looking across different industries for inspiration. The most interesting technologies were evaluated for use by the food industry and a more in-depth assessment undertaken through interviews with potential partners. We recommended the technologies most compatible with the client's needs, along with potential partners and technology suppliers.
How have products addressing childhood nutritional needs been successfully launched in developing countries?
The client wanted to launch a snack product that would address nutritional needs in children. We compiled case studies of companies that had launched similar products in the region selecting those with and without successful product launches to understand the timeline and key drivers for success such as portion size and demographic. We then produced case studies tailored to the client's specific interest which facilitated internal strategy discussions.
What strategies can reduce dental sensitivity?
A company seeking to create a differentiated position in oral sensitivity management asked us to evaluate the different strategies that could be employed. Research included literature and clinical trial database searching along with detailed conversations with key experts. We were able recommend opportunities with the most robust evidence and those that might be of interest for the future pipeline. Experts that could act as partners for further validation were highlighted.
What topically-applied skin formulations provide robust evidence of actual health benefits?
We were asked to investigate what evidence exists that different topically-applied ingredients deliver actual benefits to skin health and beauty. We were also asked to uncover what claims could be associated with different products. We undertook research using literature and clinical trial databases, along with detailed conversations with key experts to understand which ingredients had the most robust evidence. A key challenge to address was the inconsistency in published data. Analysis of literature and interview comments enabled us to recommend ingredients with the most robust evidence and experts that could act as partners for further validation.
What is the opportunity for our technology in new markets?
Our client wanted to explore the opportunity for their technology to be used in industries outside their own. The client had designed analytical equipment specific to their manufacturing needs and wanted to explore the opportunity for such equipment in other industries. We described market segments, key trends, current and emerging technologies and key players. The opportunity was tested with stakeholders to identify unmet needs and evaluate satisfaction with current solutions to understand receptivity to a competing technology. An area for exploitation was identified and recommendations made.
What potentially disruptive forming technologies can make novel beverage packaging?
The basic process for making beverage primary packaging has been well established and incrementally improved for years. We were asked to outline opportunities for disruption. This included forming novel packs with distinctive geometries, as well as processes which could make packs of any geometry for lower cost. We connected the client with companies that had suitable forming technologies never before used in the beverage industry and made connections with leading R&D centres with the capabilities to develop new forming processes.
Who is the best strategic partner?
A client wanted to develop a novel dispensing device combining household consumables with high end technology that would successfully compete in the market. We discussed potential strategic partners with the client and conducted in depth interviews with director/VP level stakeholders to gauge receptivity and applicability. The team then recommended companies to the client with the capabilities and enthusiasm to provide a successful long-term partnership.