SONAR™ is a novel consulting process that improves the way innovators identify, prioritize, and pursue growth opportunities for new and existing technology.
Avoids common growth failure modes: When innovators focus on just one area — technology, the market, or megatrends — to find new opportunities, they end up with ideas that can’t get traction, aren’t feasible, or don’t align with their business.
SONAR™ makes connections between the most critical unmet needs in the market and the existing capabilities you already have, ensuring that the opportunities identified are applicable, achievable, and attractive.
“Problem focus” produces better results: Many B2B companies struggle to extract reliable information from secretive customers and miss opportunities to capitalize on non-obvious trends. By leveraging data science techniques, including large language models (LLMs), to hunt for problems hidden within rich sources of information, our method improves the odds of turning up ideas associated with a real and urgent need that our clients can solve.
How SONAR™ Works
Step 1: Define and Identify
We begin by cataloging the attributes of your differentiated technology. Then, using proprietary search techniques and data sources, we scan a broad range of industries and applications to surface market needs that you are uniquely positioned to address, tuning the parameters of our search based on your strategic priorities.
Step 2: Explore
We work closely with you to review opportunities as we find them, discarding those that are not a fit, and refining our search criteria accordingly to guide our continued discovery efforts.
Step 3: Platform and Prioritize
Our prioritization process is collaborative and focuses on the most critical dimensions of an opportunity. Specific criteria depend on your unique situation but may include opportunity size, profitability, technical fit, etc. Applications that could leverage similar commercial or technical development activities are grouped into platforms for more efficient pursuit.
Step 4: Validate
Based on your capacity and interest, we prioritize a handful of top platforms for further evaluation and pursuit. For each lead option, we confirm commercial attractiveness, validate your value proposition, and provide a clear, nuanced view of supply chain dynamics and the competitive landscape. In many cases, we provide direct introductions to interested customer contacts, accelerating time to market.
Where Does SONAR™ Work Best?
Any innovative company can potentially benefit from the SONAR™ methodology, and we apply the same fundamental principle that underpins this process — i.e., that identifying and understanding unmet needs is the most fundamental driver of growth — across all our engagements. Nevertheless, there are certain circumstances where SONAR™ seems to be particularly reliable in producing powerful results:
- For materials and chemicals companies… Clients who make polymers, additives, composites, etc., have seen consistently excellent outcomes.
- …located far back in the value chain… SONAR™ delivers the highest relative value to B2B companies who sell into dozens or hundreds of end markets and have limited visibility into downstream customer needs — although it can also benefit companies at any level of the value chain who would like to pursue adjacent market growth but aren’t sure where to start.
- …with highly differentiated technology. Our search process is tuned for clients with unique capabilities, and is most likely to turn up brand new ideas if the technology in question has several advantaged attributes; still, there may be value in conducting the process even for commoditized products and materials, either to validate existing ideas in the pipeline or to reignite interest in opportunities that have been explored previously.