During the first half of 2022, Philips partnered with Focus to create an accurate historical overview and forecast for the disruptive medical technology in question. The first step in the process, was to identify every single invention that related to the technology. To do this, Focus trained an AI classifier that was taught how to identify relevant inventions.
After training, the AI classifier was let loose on >146 million patents to identify relevant inventions. With completion of this step, we had a dataset that contained every single relevant invention. With this data, Focus could analyze the technology’s developmental history and create a forecast. It is important to mention that we are not talking about patent trends, but about the speed with which the technology has been and will be improving in the real world. Focus’ methodology has been verified together with MIT and two peer reviewed papers have been written on the topic (Paper 1 and 2 ).
To get a good overview of a technology’s developmental history, Focus measures two things: Cycle time, and Knowledge flow. Cycle time looks at how many years it takes for a technology to create a new generation of itself. Technologies with shorter cycle times iterate faster, and thus improve quicker. Knowledge flow measures how freely knowledge flows within the domain. Actors in domains with high knowledge flow tend to be more aware of relevant inventions made by others. When actors are aware of each other’s progress, they can use that information to improve their own technologies. Thus, technologies with high knowledge flow tend to improve faster as well. The higher the knowledge flow and the shorter the cycle time, the faster a technology improves. Together, the cycle time and knowledge flow measurements allow Focus to estimate the overall improvement speed for any technology.
The above mentioned measurements are automatically made in Focus’ interface and a set of charts showing all metrics are always provided.
Next, we made a forecast for Philips by extrapolating from the current technological performance with the estimated improvement speed, so that Philips could get insight into how it needed to time its investment.