Technology Readiness Level

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is a scale used to evaluate the maturity of technologies, ranging from concept (TRL 1) to full-scale deployment (TRL 9). It finds applications in various industries and offers benefits such as innovation assessment and risk management. Challenges include subjectivity and resource-intensive assessments for complex technologies.

TRL Scale Levels:

  • TRL 1 (Concept): This level represents the earliest stage where the technology concept and basic principles have been formulated.
  • TRL 2 (Technology Concept): At TRL 2, the technology concept and its potential applications have been identified.
  • TRL 3 (Proof of Concept): In this stage, there is analytical and experimental proof of the technology’s feasibility.
  • TRL 4 (Prototype Development): Technology validation occurs in the laboratory, and prototype development is initiated.
  • TRL 5 (System Prototype): The technology is validated in a relevant environment, often involving a system prototype.
  • TRL 6 (System Model or Prototype): At this level, the system model or prototype is demonstrated in a relevant environment.
  • TRL 7 (Demonstration in Operational Environment): The technology is demonstrated in an operational environment that simulates real-world conditions.
  • TRL 8 (Actual System Completed): An actual system is completed and qualified through testing and demonstration.
  • TRL 9 (Full-Scale Deployment): Technology is fully matured and deployed in its full operational setting.

Applications of TRL:

  • Aerospace: TRL is frequently used in the aerospace industry to assess the readiness of new aircraft technologies, ensuring safety and performance.
  • Biotechnology: In biotechnology, TRL is applied to evaluate the maturity of new drug development processes, aiding in regulatory approvals.
  • Energy Sector: The energy sector employs TRL assessments to gauge the readiness of renewable energy technologies, optimizing investments.

Benefits of TRL:

  • Innovation Assessment: TRL allows organizations to assess the maturity and potential of innovative technologies, aiding decision-making.
  • Risk Management: By understanding the readiness level, organizations can manage risks associated with technology adoption and development effectively.
  • Resource Allocation: TRL optimization helps organizations allocate resources efficiently, focusing investments on technologies with higher TRL levels.

Challenges in Using TRL:

  • Subjectivity: TRL assessments may involve some subjectivity, as interpretations of readiness levels can vary among assessors.
  • Cost and Time: Conducting thorough TRL assessments can be resource-intensive in terms of time, personnel, and financial investments.
  • Complex Technologies: Assessing the TRL of complex or emerging technologies may be challenging, as standard benchmarks may not exist.

Case Studies

Aerospace Industry:

  • Spacecraft Propulsion: TRL assessments are crucial for evaluating the readiness of new propulsion systems for spacecraft. This ensures that propulsion technologies meet safety and performance standards before launching missions.
  • Aircraft Avionics: The aviation industry uses TRL assessments to determine the readiness of advanced avionics technology, including navigation and communication systems for commercial aircraft.

Biotechnology Sector:

  • Biopharmaceuticals: In biotechnology, TRL assessments are conducted to evaluate the maturity of new biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes. This helps ensure product quality, consistency, and regulatory compliance.
  • Gene Editing Tools: TRL assessments are applied to assess the readiness of cutting-edge gene-editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9, particularly for potential therapeutic applications.

Energy and Sustainability:

  • Solar Panels: Evaluating the TRL of new solar panel designs is essential for assessing their efficiency, durability, and cost-effectiveness in harnessing solar energy.
  • Wind Turbines: TRL assessments play a vital role in gauging the readiness of innovative wind turbine technology. This includes evaluating factors such as energy output, reliability, and environmental impact.

Healthcare and Medical Devices:

  • Medical Imaging: The healthcare industry relies on TRL assessments to determine the readiness of advanced medical imaging systems. This ensures accurate diagnosis and enhanced patient care.
  • Telemedicine Solutions: TRL assessments are conducted for telemedicine platforms, ensuring they meet the high standards of the healthcare industry for remote patient care.

Information Technology (IT) and Software:

  • Software Development: TRL assessments are applied to software applications, considering factors such as functionality, security, and user experience. This ensures software readiness before deployment.
  • Data Security Solutions: Cybersecurity technologies undergo TRL assessments to evaluate their maturity, including intrusion detection and threat prevention systems.

Automotive Industry:

  • Electric Vehicles (EVs): Assessing the TRL of electric vehicle (EV) battery technology is essential for ensuring safety, efficiency, and longevity. This contributes to the growth of the EV industry.
  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS): TRL assessments are crucial for evaluating the readiness of ADAS technologies, including autonomous driving features, enhancing road safety.

Renewable Energy:

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells: TRL assessments are conducted for hydrogen fuel cell technology, used for clean energy applications such as transportation and power generation.
  • Wave Energy Converters: Evaluating the maturity of wave energy converter systems is essential for harnessing renewable energy from ocean waves, contributing to sustainable energy sources.

Defense and Military Technology:

  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): TRL assessments are vital in the defense sector, particularly for assessing the readiness of UAV technologies, including drones used for reconnaissance and surveillance.
  • Weapon Systems: Advanced weapon systems, including missile guidance and targeting technology, undergo TRL assessments to ensure their readiness and effectiveness.

Key highlights of Technology Readiness Level (TRL):

  • Maturity Assessment: TRL provides a systematic way to assess the maturity and readiness of technologies, helping organizations make informed decisions.
  • Nine TRL Levels: It consists of nine TRL levels, from concept (TRL 1) to full-scale deployment (TRL 9), allowing for precise evaluation.
  • Cross-Industry Applicability: TRL is applicable across various industries, including aerospace, biotechnology, and energy, making it versatile.
  • Innovation Assessment: TRL assists in assessing the innovation’s readiness and potential, aiding in strategic planning.
  • Risk Management: Organizations use TRL to manage risks associated with technology adoption and development, reducing uncertainties.
  • Resource Optimization: TRL optimization helps allocate resources efficiently by prioritizing technologies with higher TRL levels.
  • Subjectivity Challenges: TRL assessments may involve some subjectivity, necessitating clear criteria and guidelines.
  • Resource Intensity: Conducting thorough TRL assessments can be resource-intensive in terms of time, personnel, and finances.
  • Complex Technology Evaluation: Assessing the TRL of complex or emerging technologies may pose challenges due to the absence of standardized benchmarks.

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A tech business model is made of four main components: value model (value propositions, missionvision), technological model (R&D management), distribution model (sales and marketing organizational structure), and financial model (revenue modeling, cost structure, profitability and cash generation/management). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build a solid tech business model.

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In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus have a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility.

Business Competition

In a business world driven by technology and digitalization, competition is much more fluid, as innovation becomes a bottom-up approach that can come from anywhere. Thus, making it much harder to define the boundaries of existing markets. Therefore, a proper business competition analysis looks at customer, technology, distribution, and financial model overlaps. While at the same time looking at future potential intersections among industries that in the short-term seem unrelated.

Technological Modeling

Technological modeling is a discipline to provide the basis for companies to sustain innovation, thus developing incremental products. While also looking at breakthrough innovative products that can pave the way for long-term success. In a sort of Barbell Strategy, technological modeling suggests having a two-sided approach, on the one hand, to keep sustaining continuous innovation as a core part of the business model. On the other hand, it places bets on future developments that have the potential to break through and take a leap forward.

Transitional Business Models

A transitional business model is used by companies to enter a market (usually a niche) to gain initial traction and prove the idea is sound. The transitional business model helps the company secure the needed capital while having a reality check. It helps shape the long-term vision and a scalable business model.

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Business Scaling

Business scaling is the process of transformation of a business as the product is validated by wider and wider market segments. Business scaling is about creating traction for a product that fits a small market segment. As the product is validated it becomes critical to build a viable business model. And as the product is offered at wider and wider market segments, it’s important to align product, business model, and organizational design, to enable wider and wider scale.

Market Expansion Theory

The market expansion consists in providing a product or service to a broader portion of an existing market or perhaps expanding that market. Or yet, market expansions can be about creating a whole new market. At each step, as a result, a company scales together with the market covered.



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In the FourWeekMBA Revenue Streams Matrix, revenue streams are classified according to the kind of interactions the business has with its key customers. The first dimension is the “Frequency” of interaction with the key customer. As the second dimension, there is the “Ownership” of the interaction with the key customer.

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Revenue model patterns are a way for companies to monetize their business models. A revenue model pattern is a crucial building block of a business model because it informs how the company will generate short-term financial resources to invest back into the business. Thus, the way a company makes money will also influence its overall business model.

Pricing Strategies

A pricing strategy or model helps companies find the pricing formula in fit with their business models. Thus aligning the customer needs with the product type while trying to enable profitability for the company. A good pricing strategy aligns the customer with the company’s long term financial sustainability to build a solid business model.

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