What is Crossing the Chasm, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Crossing the Chasm
The chasm is the space between the vision of the innovative product or service and the early segment of the market that will purchase the product. Crossing the Chasm involves taking steps in order to reconcile the discrepancy between the visionaries’ desire to be cutting edge in order to attain a competitive advantage and the desire of the early market to have an improved version of an existing product or service.
Description of Crossing the Chasm
In order to cross the chasm, three steps should be taken:
Step 1: Redefine customer needs
Consider the changes that need to be made to the ideas that were pitched to the stakeholders who bought into the idea so that they capture the attention of the market. While the ideas initially presented to stakeholders might involve revolutionizing a product or service, in general, the mainstream market will usually desire something that is an improvement over what currently exists.
Step 2: Drive word of mouth
In order to locate the mainstream market, it is important to make good network connections and communicate the message about what is being created. However, this step creates a roadblock because in order to make connections within the mainstream market, there needs to be a connection to it. Thus, it becomes critical to target the right segment of the market.
Step 3: Target the right niche
Typically, the best segment of the market to use as a starting target is the largest portion. By focusing on meeting their needs first, the organization will generate the most economic value because their needs generally overlap with more discrete segments. Applying the word of mouth generated in the previous step to the niche will give the organization momentum to move to the next segment.
Being able to cross the chasm successfully involves knowing which segment of the market you are dealing with to target your message appropriately.
Early Adopters- This group of consumers is eager to try any new technology or product. This is an important group to target because they are the most willing to try new things.
Visionaries- This segment of the market does not just pursue innovations for hobby, they make purchasing decisions based on their intuitions. They are able to understand the benefits of new technology.
Pragmatists-This group is wary of fads. However, they will purchase a product if they believe it to be useful.
Conservatives- This customer segment consists of buyers from more well-established organizations or products that have been on the market for a while
Skeptics- This group is typically not interested in purchasing innovative products or services. They might move into other segments of the market at different time points, but generally for personal or economic reasons are not interested in new technologies.
Tools & Templates
The tools managers can use to guide their employees through the steps for Crossing the Chasm are often communicated in presentations, spreadsheets, and other strategic documents.
upBOARD's Online Crossing the Chasm Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Crossing the Chasm processes, upBOARD’s online Crossing the Chasm tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
70-20-10 Rule, Agile Innovation Process, Brainstorming, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Context Canvas, Crossing the Chasm, Crowdsourcing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Disruptive Innovation, Empathy Interviews, Ethnographic Research, Experiment Canvas, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Matrix, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Minimum Viable Product, Open Innovation Process, Outcome Driven Innovation, Painstorming, Phases & Gates, Rapid Prototyping, Saturate and Group, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Startup Innovation Management, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model, Value Proposition Canvas and White Space Innovation.