Europe generates world-leading research on climate change adaptation but too few ideas make it to market. This costs Europe jobs and income, and leaves Europe less prepared for climate-related disasters like wildfires, floods, and droughts.
The BRIGAID Market Analysis Framework (MAF+) trains inventors, engineers and scientists to understand the market for climate adaptation solutions – so that they transform their innovation and bridge the gap from idea to successful business.
Innovators can use the online MAF+ as a self-assessment tool – or receive BRIGAID personalised support.
More than 20 innovators have already applied the MAF+ to help develop their climate adaptation innovation. Click on the photos below to read about their experiences: what they learned, how the MAF+ helped push their innovation closer to the market, plus tips and tricks for getting the most out of BRIGAID MAF+ support.
“The MAF+ was challenging but well-guided… plus the tool was user-friendly and easy to interact with.”
Dr. Eugenio Realini
“The MAF+ tool is great - it’s clear, gives a good overview, and the steps are easy to understand.”
“The Market Analysis Framework enabled us to restructure existing knowledge, generate new knowledge, and increase the quality of our business plan.”
“The most valuable part were the discussions that we had. The MAF+ framework facilitated these and recorded our new insights.”
Alexander van der Kleij
“The MAF+ pushed us to engage with clients… and we are changing our offering to match their needs.”
Dr. Conceição Colaço
Dr. Eugenio Realini from GReD , a spin-off from the Politecnico di Milano, is an expert in global positioning systems and water vapour data, but before BRIGAID, he would not have described himself as a confident business person. Through the BRIGAID Business Development Programme, Eugenio developed the skills – and a business plan – to take his flash flood prevention innovation GM4W further along the road from idea to market.
With colleagues at GReD, Eugenio had developed the science behind their innovation called GM4W, however, they were struggling to develop a strategy for turning this idea into a successful business. “We were very aware that we come from a research, academic background,” Eugenio explained, “it was clear that business development was an area where we needed support.”
Eugenio found the in-person consulting from BRIGAID immediately beneficial. “Brainstorming at the workshop was great – we identified lots of additional potential clients,” he said, describing the opening 2-day business workshop as “intensive and interesting”. Eugenio also reported that he learned a lot from the Market Analysis Framework tool, “the MAF+ was challenging but well-guided by BRIGAID consultants, plus the tool was user-friendly and easy to interact with.”
For Eugenio, the BRIGAID Business Development Programme increased his business confidence and ability to communicate the value of GM4W to clients. “I learned a lot – generally, it was really beneficial to get the training,” he reflected, “it is more natural for me now to see things from the potential customer’s view, and to focus during short conversations with clients on things that will capture their interests”. The process also had concrete results. Along with drafting a business plan that sets the strategic direction of GM4W, Eugenio reports that BRIGAID support in identifying target market segments and quantifying potential market sizes, “changed our perception of where we should start and where we should go next”. Overall, Eugenio recommended the BRIGAID Programme, “it cleared up our ideas about what it means to do business development”. When asked to describe its impact on his business skills and confidence, Eugenio concluded that, “on a scale of 0-10, the BRIGAID Business Development Programme moved me from a 0 to a 7”.
GM4W uses low-cost global positioning receivers to gather continuous, local-level water vapour data that can predict heavy rainfall events, which are expected to increase in occurrence, severity and damage as Europe’s climate warms. GM4W can improve local weather forecasts and even help avoid flash floods and associated damage and deaths – at a low cost. More info on GM4W and contact details can be found on the BRIGAID Climate Innovation Window.
Robert Alt has always been a creative person - a fixer, a problem solver. So when he saw the German/Dutch Corps in the news unsuccessfully struggling with heavy sandbags to hold back the floods in Germany in 2014, he got thinking. And as an inventor, he didn’t just think – he developed a mobile flood barrier that was “easier, faster, better” - the Tubebarrier.
For Robert, the challenge wasn’t designing and building a better mobile flood dam – it was developing the innovation into a business. “The business side of things does not come naturally to me,” he explained. Robert mostly works alone and prefers to spend his time developing a useful product. He recognised that he needed business support – to develop a business strategy, find clients and financing, and to identify business opportunities.
Robert turned to the BRIGAID Business Development Programme. He found the BRIGAID business development tools and support helpful. “The MAF+ tool is great - it’s clear, gives a good overview, and the steps are easy to understand”. Robert also appreciated the in-person support. The regular telephone calls with BRIGAID experts and their direct feedback on his work through the MAF+’s comment function helped him to understand the business development exercises and ideas, and translate these insights into meaningful changes.
The BRIGAID Business Development Programme had immediate and lasting impact. Before, Robert thought Dutch water boards, municipalities, and other public institutions would be most interested in the Tubebarrier. However, he realized that it would take time to convey his innovative idea to this – in some cases – more traditional audience. Through the BRIGAID Business Development Programme, Robert recognised that climate adaptation isn’t just the responsibility of the government - private homeowners might also want to act themselves.
So, Robert shifted focus to homeowners. He designed a lighter, more affordable version of his invention – the HomeBarrier – better suited to protecting private property from rising floodwaters. While this market was always in the back of Robert’s mind, the business development programme was “100% the trigger” for his new focus. And the shift is already paying off. A new customer-focussed page on the TubeBarrier website has already resulted in sales.
The BRIGAID Business Development Programme training has changed how Robert does business. The main difference is that he now thinks much more deeply about potential clients and how Tubebarrier can best meet their needs. Combined with the practical results of developing a business plan and updating his business strategy, this learning has helped him to reach new clients and refocus his innovation to meet their needs. With climate-related flooding only expected to increase in the future, innovations like Robert’s can have a big impact by helping Europe adapt to a changing climate.
The Tubebarrier is the new Dutch temporary flood barrier. It has a simple, lightweight and flexible design that uses water to stop floods. The Tubebarrier’s modular system can be quickly deployed to protect homes, industry, or whole municipalities: four people can install 100m of protection in one hour. More info at the Climate Innovation Window.
Alessandro Delucchi, co-founder and CEO of ARTYS, knew that his company’s innovation, Smart Rainfall System, could be a business success. Thanks to its ability to provide real-time rainfall monitoring and short-term predictions of flood risk, Alessandro was confident that Smart Rainfall System could help European regions adapt to climate change. However, despite his team’s experience developing businesses, he also realised that they needed additional support if they were going to win the public funding they needed to expand. He turned to the Market Analysis Framework (MAF+) to prepare a convincing application for more than a million Euros of public funding.
As Alessandro explained, “The Market Analysis Framework enabled us to restructure existing knowledge, generate new knowledge, and increase the quality of our business plan.” Building on previous BRIGAID research, ARTYS pinpointed the European regions most likely to buy their service: those that have the greatest risk of floods and have a high “adaptive capacity”, that is, the resources and skills to implement Smart Rainfall System. Through the Market Analysis Framework support, ARTYS ultimately identified regions in thirteen countries. “The BRIGAID support enabled us to explore a market scale up in Europe and worldwide,” said Alessandro.
The BRIGAID support also strengthened their funding application. ARTYS re-applied for public funding with their updated business plan, and with the help of BRIGAID experts, immediately saw results. In their application to the EU Commission’s EIC Accelerator, their evaluation scores increased by more than 25%. As a result, they won two Seal of Excellence awards, providing access to new funding sources. In July 2019, ARTYS was invited to Brussels to pitch to the investment advisory board. Alessandro and his team are continuing to develop their business confidently, “not only did the BRIGAID support open up doors for us, we are now also much better prepared to face the competition.”
ARTYS Smart Rainfall System
The ARTYS Smart Rainfall System (SRS) is an innovative rainfall and flood risk monitoring system. The rainfall maps are provided in real-time with a high spatial resolution taking advantage of ICT technologies and a network of low-cost rainfall sensors deployed in the monitored territory. The rainfall now-casting system allows a short-term prediction of the flood scenarios thanks to a dedicated runoff model and the web-GIS platform displays risk maps with a one-minute refreshing time. More info on Smart Rainfall System and contact details can be found on the BRIGAID Climate Innovation Window.
Alexander van der Kleij and the team at SolarDew International have set themselves an ambitious goal: to use the power of the sun to provide one million people with safe drinking water by 2030. Their innovation, SolarDew, uses solar power and a proprietary membrane to treat saline, biological or chemical contaminated water off-grid and at low cost. The challenge for the SolarDew team was to translate this long-term goal into practical action. Or as Alexander put it, “what does this mean for my company in the next couple of years?” Alexander turned to the MAF+ and the BRIGAID team for additional help.
Alexander already had significant experience with business development, so the MAF+ did not drastically change his company’s vision or way of working. Rather, by enrolling in the BRIGAID Business Development Programme he aimed to improve SolarDew’s existing business plan with the help of others, building on its strengths as well as identifying areas for improvement.
While Alexander noted that a one-size-fits-all solution - such as the MAF+ - does not always meet the exact needs of specific users, he nevertheless found the MAF+ a useful structure for developing his business. Alexander explained that the BRIGAID Business Development Programme gives “a simple and complete overview of your business”. The MAF+ process helped to flesh out SolarDew’s business plan by providing concrete examples and quantitative figures, supporting conversations with investors and buyers.
Overall, Alexander concluded that “the MAF+ helped to validate the company’s past decisions and to sharpen my thinking”. He pointed to the MAF+’s SWOT Priority Scorecard exercise as an example. Even though Alexander had already completed a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis before, he appreciated how the exercise allowed him to quantitatively prioritise elements that that usually remain qualitative, and to come up with concrete actions based on the outcome. The MAF + platform also functioned as a facilitator for informed discussions, as Alex stated, “The most valuable part were the discussions that we had. The MAF+ framework facilitated these and recorded our new insights”.
SolarDew’s technology allows water to be heated by the sun and evaporated down through a proprietary membrane to produce clean water, whilst leaving bacteria, viruses, chemicals and salt behind. Through this process of solar membrane distillation one can reduce salinity by more than 10,000x in a single step. Using this technology, SolarDew offers a compact, inflatable product that can be rapidly deployed in the aftermath of a natural disaster, but also a reliable long-term source of drinking water to individuals or communities.
Dr. Conceição Colaço knew her scientific research could help fire managers protect communities from devastating wildfires. That’s why she helped co-found FireAd, an online fire risk advisory tool. Its ability to identify when and where practitioners could safely start prescribed fires offers a new, low-cost and effective method for wildfire control. However, her scientific background did not prepare for the challenges of business development, including pricing, strategically targeting an innovation to meet specific client demands, or finding and communicating with customers. So she turned to the BRIGAID team.
The BRIGAID Business Support Programme helped Conceição to understand her clients, and how she could best meet their needs. In addition to identifying new potential domestic and international client segments, the process also convinced Conceição to adjust her innovation to match what her clients valued. “The MAF+ pushed us to engage with clients… and we are changing our offering to match their needs, such as offering hourly data. We are seeing that we can offer different products for different clients, and their needs vary,” she explained. Conceição and her team solidified this customized approach in the business plan that they produced with BRIGAID support.
Given her limited background in developing innovations for the market, Conceição valued the BRIGAID Support Programme’s emphasis on skills development. She reported that the customer-focused approach has changed the way that she communicates her innovation. It was a challenge to shift from a scientific-style of communication, but following her training, she now convinces potential buyers by “focussing on their needs”. Overall, Conceição concluded that the Programme was worth the effort, “it was challenging - and we were complaining along the way – but the outcome of the process was important”.
The innovation FireAd is an ITC-desk solution able to regularly advice to forest and fire managers on windows of opportunity for forest management practices aiming at reducing the risk of wildfires. More info at climateinnovationwindow.eu/innovations/firead
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The Market Analysis Framework was developed under the frame of BRIGAID project. It aims to be an assessment portal for innovations on climate change adaptation.
BRIGAID is a 4-year project (2016 - 2020) under EU Horizon2020 aimed to effectively bridge the gap between innovators and end-users in resilience to floods, droughts and extreme weather.