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Innovation roadmaps as a path to market success

An innovation that comes too early or too late rarely becomes a market success. The example of self-compacting concrete shows how far apart invention and implementation can be. This has been the subject of every discussion about the future of construction for about 35 years and thus reminds us of the "paperless office" that has been announced for ages.

The roadmap is used for long-term planning of future development projects.


That it will come is so logical that it was announced on an annual basis for next year until no one wanted to hear it again. Read in this blog post why innovation roadmaps are your path to market success.

During this time, the office's paper consumption also increased with the digitalisation of the office. Whoever pronounced the word "paperless" became a laughing stock. But now we have tablets and e-ink, retinal resolution, no more flickering, but the cloud. Since offices were switched to paperless file traffic, laughing about paperless work has become quieter. The old theme comes back, and one should be careful not to oversleep just because the idea is so much older than its new possibilities with state-of-the-art technology.

Normal concrete must be compacted after pouring into the formwork. Air inclusions are expelled. Jogging, spinning, pounding, poking, spraying and rolling are available depending on the circumstances. "Internal vibrators" and "external vibrators" should not go unmentioned, since these are downright poetic word creations. This process and all the associated effort and costs are eliminated for self-compacting concrete, which was invented in Germany in 1974. Even then, the first successes were due to geography: In Japan, in the 1980s, many unskilled construction workers were employed, which often led to defects in durability because compaction was not done properly. The self-compacting concrete was quickly recognized and used as a solution to the problem. It took a long time before the patent was also used in the EU and the USA. His great success has been denied until today.

Whether the self-compacting concrete will be like the paperless office, we were once again able to discuss with a formwork manufacturer when we drew up the roadmap. This serves for the long-term planning of future development projects. It not only makes visible the future time windows in which an innovation must be brought to market so that it is neither too early nor too late. But also the regions of the world, which will then develop a need. For example, the trend topic of security in India will only become relevant from 2020. Anyone who wants to bring the best security solution in the world there first will be shipwrecked.

We develop innovation roadmaps using trend maps. The trends shown here show 3 of 171 trends that we have identified for the building materials industry. For the formwork manufacturer, the topic of self-compacting concrete is highly relevant because it is very fluid and requires stronger formwork. Equally important is the change in demand from purchase to rent. This forces innovations not of the product but of the business model.

Because companies constantly have to keep an eye on trends and their development in order to enter the market at the right time and place, we have started to develop an app that links real roadmaps with additional digital information and makes them accessible as augmented reality on the tablet. It has been a long time since inventions such as the light bulb or the steam engine were successful regardless of time and place. In our complex world, we need more complex information to know what, when, where and why.

Web-Link about self-compacting concrete here.


Daniel Zapfl

With his comprehensive experience in holistic innovation management, Daniel brings valuable insights and best practices from various industries to your innovation project. He boldly and disruptively challenges conventional ways of thinking. As a TRIZ-certified sparring partner, Daniel will support you with creative solution-finding in a reliable and structured manner. More critical than the most discerning customer, he always has an eye on the big picture.

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