Exploring the
Opportunity Space

What is this?

The opportunity space is the broad space of ideas and opportunities where you and your team want to create value. It is defined (or limited) by what you are, what you know, what you can do and what you want. It is also defined by the outside world and in particular the unmet needs, trends and opportunities it offers. Within your opportunity space you will find you can come up with a plethora of potential venture ideas, which is great! This is the phase where bold hairy audacious ideas thrive and everything is possible.

While exploring this opportunity space is typically the first step on the road to business creation, it is not always something that is done very explicitly. As a first step, however, this helps to get to know a lot of things about yourself, the team and the world. Exploring the opportunity space also means that you will understand what you or your team cannot or don't want to do and what types of ideas you find invaluable or unattractive. In the end, you will find yourself characterising this opportunity space mostly by looking at a number of possible ideas within that space. Ideas that are linked to needs, inefficiencies, problems and opportunities you have spotted, but also linked to the capabilities of your team or organisation.

superhero entrepreneur

The output is a first rough and typically abstract idea definition of the kind of problem you want to address and how (which may contain one idea or a range of ideas), ready to be evaluated and shaped further. Your idea tries to link a problem or need to a realistic solution.

So, all this means that the opportunity space should be approached from different angles at the same time. Some of the pieces you may already possess: a strong team, a specific technology, a certain market insight, a trend spotted … It is your job to identify all of the missing pieces now and to come up with an interesting and credible idea definition.

This is a stage of creativity and exploration! You may go quite wild as long as you stay loyal to the internal and external realities you have identified (or created). Evaluation will come later…


Concrete actions in this phase are:

  1. Internal context analysis 

    • What strengths do you have to build on internally?

    • Who are you, who do you know, what do you know?

    • What do you want to do? What do you not want to do?

  2. External context analysis

    • Which opportunities/limitations does the external environment offer/impose?

    • What trends do you see?

    • What unmet needs do you see?

    • What new solutions do you see emerging?

  3. Problem/solutions matching

    • What value do we aspire to create for whom?