Opportunity recognition

Opportunity recognition is one of six foundational skills/services I leverage in my work in investment analysis. I also do opportunity recognition projects stand-alone or bundled with other services:

The objective of an opportunity recognition project is to identify new problems that are worth solving. Generally speaking, this is a generative process where candidate problems:

  • Have a possible solution that could achieve a 10x improvement over existing processes or solutions, and
  • It's reasonable to expect this solution could be driven to a commanding position in a defensible market segment.

The process incorporates feedback from existing internal teams and consideration of existing internal technologies / strategy as well as domain expertise of your organization.


Using an out-of-the-box idea generation approach similar to S.C.A.M.P.E.R., systematically generate a broad set of novel and perhaps unexpected ideas for evaluation. The output of this phase will be a collection of customer problems with solution hypotheses. These will then be prioritized and validated (as described below).


Problem/solution candidates will be ranked based on weighted measures of the following:

  • Total addressable market
  • Percent improvement over existing processes/solutions
  • Potential leverage (network effects, increasing returns, etc)
  • Ability to sell/distribute
  • Defensibility
  • Time to market
  • Cost
  • Team fit
  • Strategic value

Measures of the items above will be based on a best effort estimate with supporting reasoning based on experience and/or back-of-the-envelope calculations / research.


Problem/solution candidates will be validated by refining the prioritization model weightings and improving accuracy of individual attributes based on interviews with your company's subject matter experts, interviews with customers and partners, user research with mocked-up solutions, and aggregating and distilling secondary research.


Based on the above process, present and recommend the highest ranked opportunity in the evaluation model.

If you'd like to know more about how I can help your organization, please send me a message. I would love to talk.