Open Innovation Needs Network

Unmet needs

I believe that the best innovation starts with an unmet need. In other words innovation works best when it is demand driven, not supply driven. And yet too much innovation effort is focussed at developing the supply of ideas or innovations in a vacuum without clarity around the route to market or unmet need it is addressing. By unmet need we mean something like the following:

"A problem or opportunity for which there is no known satisfactory solution which if met would deliver new value."

We are working with Innovation Scout to create an Open Innovation Needs Network and/or Directory where people or organisations can 'start at the end'. In other words they can post unmet needs or offer solutions to them. We are aware of lots of innovation broker sites out there but they tend to be focussed around particular technology or sector niches. What we are seeking to achieve is a tool that will genuinely help find solutions to problems that arise from adjacent or completely unrelated fields.

We are populating the database at present with our immediate network through a low tech method (asking people to fill out cards as in the pic). However to help us in our quest we'd be really pleased if you can you assist by answering these 2 questions:

  1. An unmet need means for me…?
  2. Please give us an example of a real unmet need you have now e.g. What is the need? Why does it matter? The type of opportunity (license, joint venture etc.)? Value of meeting this need (to you, partners, end-users etc)?

We will report back on this soon with a view to making it available as soon as we can. Thanks!


  1. Couldn’t agree with your more
    Have worked on too many projects that prepare amazing ideas to pitch stage only to find that the route to market/ the market need just doesn’t exist
    This is frustrating for the companies concerned and waste of time and money!
    much better to start with a real challenge and make sure ideas and products are market shaped
    The challenge is, then, how to help clients figure out what their needs and challenges really are – a step missing in so many innovation processes

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