What is it, and why is it important for the entire process of working with welfare technology?
This step is closely connected with the needs analysis. The market screening can both be a thorough search of the existing marked to see whether an current commercial product can cover an identified need, but it can also be a continues process in which an organization can stay up to date with, and even be inspired by, new innovative products.
A good knowledge of the market and which products that are successful or "up and coming" within different areas of welfare technology, can inspire your work, but also make for a better and more informative evaluation process. Instead of simply testing the first technology that covers a need, or the one with the best salesperson, a good knowledge of the marked will allow you to test better product and perhaps even test several competing products, optimizing the collected data as well as your chance of success.
- On a general level remember that market screening and market dialog can, and often will, be a precursor for procurement, so treat everyone equal and with a high degree of transparency.
- In the extent to which your resources allows it is recommendable to not simply perform marked screenings in short intensive time intervals intended to identify solutions for a given identified need. If possible, seek to integrate the market screening process into your everyday work with welfare technology – to achieve a continuous state of marked awareness. (For more information about how to do this see the guidelines section).
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Guidelines based on experience
On a general level when doing a market analysis, whether it be as an integrated part of your daily work or during an intensive search, first take some time to clarify which standards and regulations companies and products should adhere to in your organization.
- Regulatory standards
- Interoperability/communication with existing technologies or databases within your organization
National regulations for instance regarding data safety
If your organization does not possess the required expertize needed to determine the above, help can be found in national authorities, other municipalities or specialized consulting companies.
Integrating market screening into your daily work
- Attend relevant exhibitions and conferences. Update your knowledge by attending, or even arranging, relevant exhibitions and conferences. Do not be afraid of attending exhibitions and conferences abroad for inspiration.
- Employ an open market dialog. Companies should have easy access to dedicated personal resources within your organization.
- It is recommendable to arrange structured and open dialog meetings with the marked. This could be monthly/quarterly/yearly meetings, in which companies get an opportunity to pitch their latest products. To minimize use of resources this could be done in cooperation with neighboring municipalities.
- Establishing a living lab or showroom within your organization can also be a good way to connect with technology suppliers and hear about their new products and updates. Remember, a living lab requires time and resources or it will not have the desired effect.
- It is highly recommendable to establish a knowledge-sharing network with likeminded municipalities or other partners such as hospitals and universities.
- Sharing information about new products, usability and profitability saves valuable resources.
- Join existing professional network using Social Media to exchange knowledge with colleagues from other municipalities and sectors.
Intensive market screening:
- Desk research: The internet has not been invented in vain, use it to identify potential solutions.
- Cooperate with marked cluster organizations. An easy way to gain access to technology suppliers is through marked specific clusters – the organizations themselves are also useful sparing partners when doing desk research. (For examples se "methods and tools").
- Similarly, use your knowledge-sharing network of likeminded municipalities when doing desk research.
- Do not be afraid to communicate your needs to the marked. This may very well result in the problem being solved in a manner you had not previously thought of.
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What has doing a market screening meant to the CONNECT participants?
In Odense we continuously screen the market to ensure we know and use a wide range of solutions, which in turn increases the likelihood of the solutions being profitable. Marked screening within welfare technology has led to knowledge-sharing across municipal departments and facilitated the integration of working with new technology in departments who previously had no experience in doing so.
Quite simply, a thorough marked screening increases the likelihood of successfully implementing sustainable solutions by matching identified needs with the right technology.
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Methods and tools
- In Finland the web portal that announces new procurements from public authorities also has a build in option for doing a market screening before procurement – to ensure there are solutions that will fulfill the needs of the procurer.
- There are private companies that provide IT platforms for public-private dialog leading up to a procurement (Examples: Processio and Comdia)
- Cluster organisations – (One example from each country, more can be found using google):
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Examples of market screenings from the CONNECT participants
In city of Oulu, we use OuluHealth Labs to search new innovations and existing technologies available in the market. We have also permanent show rooms in hospital and in city library:
Has experience with different approaches including living lab and pitches etc. At Center for Velfærdsteknologi they have structured the way companies can approach the municipality. For more information about marked screening please contact Odense municipality directly.
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