This third column on Innovation Mapping focuses on White Space and specifically:
- What is White Space
- How White Space can be used, and
- Next steps to map your business and find your own White Spaces
What is White Space:
There are many different definitions of White Space out there in the areas of Innovation and Business Growth. One way to look at White Space is Externally and Internally:
- External Perspective:
- Defining spaces where there is little or no competition, also known as Blue Oceans
- Defining spaces where there is an entirely new market
- Defining spaces that are gaps in existing markets or product lines
- Internal Perspective:
- Mapping your company’s ability to address new opportunities or threats that may require a change in business model to pursue
How White Space & Innovation Maps Are Used:
For the most part, an innovation map that focuses on your company’s products or services and plots a history of these over time is an External Perspective. The goal with mapping products or services historically is to find new opportunities to grow profitably by defining potential gaps in existing markets. Sometimes an entirely new market can be identified by using this process. Occasionally, a Blue Ocean market may be identified as well in which there is little or no competition at the moment.
To get a feel for this approach, take another look at the following Innovation Map that we discussed last week and maps products used historically to listen to music.
Imagine that you were mapping this market at some point before new theses different product innovations were introduced. Could you have recognized opportunities if you were knowledgeable about this market? Do you see how an Innovation Map like this could have helped the developers of these products recognize the opportunities?
Next Steps to Define White Space
- The first decision is to determine if you will think of White Space from an Internal or External perspective.
- If you chose an External focus, then you should simply begin mapping the market or products you have selected on a historical basis.
- Your focus will be to find Gaps in existing markets or product lines that represent opportunities for your business.
- Some of these gaps may be opportunities with little or no competition
- Other gaps may define an entirely new market
- If you chose an Internal focus, your focus will become on White Space as an internal benchmark or directional sign to map your company’s ability to address new opportunities or threats.
- In the Internal focus, White Space becomes a tool to identify barriers to your company that inhibit it from pursuing new products, new markets or threats unless a new business model is developed.
Good luck in your Innovation Mapping and identification of White Space quest!
Charlie Alter owns Bentbrook Advisors LLC based in Sylvania, Ohio. He specializes in Growth Strategy, Innovation and Coaching and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org visit http://bentbrookadvisors.com/ for more information on his business advisory practice.