New Capability to Harness Advanced SciTech for Your Company’s Competitive Advantage | Blog

How can you reduce the level of uncertainty and risk as you drive innovation and growth and disrupt your competitors in today’s changing market dynamics and emerging technologies? For instance, how could the arrival of a disruptive technology such as viable sodium-ion batteries strategically impact your company?

What if your company could stay intimately aware of emerging technologies in sci-tech fields and assess their potential impact on your company’s products, services, and operations so that you can gain a first-mover advantage? What if you could identify future disruptive opportunities and pivot quickly in response to changing market dynamics and technologies to create new sources of value? How can your company be better prepared to act with conviction and clarity when dealing with the risks in such instances? This is now more critical than ever as the pace of SciTech development increases even more rapidly than we have seen.

We at Everest Group have long had a vision to build a practice around Advanced SciTech to bring some of our applied research principles to identify and understand forthcoming innovations in such areas as chemicals, materials, food, IT software, micro-electronics, and semiconductors. We understand that making confident long-term decisions is a truly difficult, complex process.

Think of this practice as an early warning system for technologies and science that will ultimately be disruptive to many industries and markets. It will help companies find technologies that matter and do something with them (build something, partner with someone, license it). The early warning system gives companies the knowledge and power to make decisions before their competitors and turn those warnings into positive opportunities.

Richard Sear, who has 30 years of deep expertise, has joined us as Managing Partner of our new Advanced SciTech practice. Richard says that you can’t provide practical context to any technology without understanding the environment into which it has the potential to be introduced.

“To understand the environment, you need to understand econometric factors, people, business models, regulations, and the landscape of litigation and legislation,” says Richard. “The context translates into how a technology will ultimately arrive at a meaning … or not. How will it evolve? What will it replace? What will it need? How will it thrive and develop? Who needs to partner in that ecosystem?”

“With that context, you’re telling the future,” Richard continues. “But you’re telling it with breadcrumbs that actually lead you to the place you need to go versus no breadcrumbs, and you end up wandering around the forest for the whole time.”

Three horizons comprise the trajectory

Three horizons comprise our framework for building a trajectory arc. We first help companies understand their current horizon.

The second horizon is one to three years out, given your strategic road map. You will understand if you implement your plan where that will place you against how the market has evolved in three years, what customers will be looking for in three years, how the market may change regarding risk regulation and other issues, and how your competitors are investing and where they will be against that.

Advanced SciTech then extends that horizon to what the world will look like three to 10 years from now. We call this approach futurecasting. What are the challenges, technology changes, and megatrends that will affect your company three to 10 years out? This requires understanding the core drivers in how innovative technologies develop and fundamental things that change society and competition.

Sixty percent of the team in our Advanced SciTech practice have Ph.D.s and advanced degrees in fields such as biotechnology or chemical manufacturing. They have worked in government and science laboratories, developing solutions. They track a multitude of technologies and their progress to understand where the technologies may be commercially viable. For instance, for a given technology, this helps executives understand such aspects as the following:

  • Is this technology likely to enter the market three years from now?
  • Does it have velocity?
  • Should we plan to invest in it now, or is it likely to be here in 10 years? And is it outside the horizon where we need to actively invest?

Sodium-ion battery trajectory

Richard cites sodium-ion battery development as an example. He and his team have tracked the progress of solving its technical problems for years. Developers have solved the raw material challenges and the heat dissipation challenges. The main problem is the density challenge, and he forecasts that this will be solved within the next three years.

“So, now what are the car manufacturers – which use lithium-ion extensively for a car’s key component – going to do about this? Sodium-ion is low cost, has better safety characteristics, and is more environmentally sensitive. Lithium-ion is very high cost and has a faster rate of energy dissipation. Sodium-ion batteries will be cheaper, and they can be manufactured in the same place as lithium-ion batteries.”

He continues the considerations: What are the implications to cell phones? Or a mining company that makes a 20-year bet on a lithium mine could see the world shifting rapidly to sodium in three years. This would also be relevant to IT companies trying to get power to their large data centers to run generative AI programs.

To what degree will the two technologies run together, and then when will the more dominant one by itself? The economics change investments into certain types of resources. That affects the design of a product.

Companies typically have a road map for two or three years and some have a meaningful five years plus. They need to understand the efficacy of those road maps because, in our experience, the future usually happens faster than most forecast. What will they invest in? What will they do to change their situation? The market will change in those years, and customer expectations will evolve. And how will they project beyond the three years? How can they understand forthcoming innovations and the potential applications of those innovations in a future market?

The answer is to look at the underlying science of where technology is going, and Advanced SciTech does that. We at Everest Group have put in place the capabilities to help companies with their longer-term-horizons trajectory for the majority of the world’s SciTech advancements.

Reach out to us to learn more or discuss further.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get the latest expert insights and research.

How can we engage?

Please let us know how we can help you on your journey.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Please review our Privacy Notice and check the box below to consent to the use of Personal Data that you provide.