A little throwback: several years ago, a Geneva engineering school conducted an applied research project to develop a driving assistance system adapted to the needs of public transport, aimed at reducing fuel consumption. and emissions, while improving comfort and safety.

The system developed consists of collecting a large amount of data in real time, centered around a dozen parameters, and allowing a live evaluation to alert the driver, as well as a detailed analysis (and a posteriori) to identify the axes improvement in driving style.

This first project responded to a request from a public transport operator in Switzerland who wanted to use it as part of the training of its drivers. This first application not only made it possible to validate the solutions identified and the validity of the results, but also to collect data to continue the development of the product.

Based on this initial conclusive experience, a redeveloped solution with an expanded product scope was then deployed more broadly (30 vehicles equipped) and operational at another Swiss public transport operator.


Several months of tests in operational conditions and results having provided conclusive results, this second operator was convinced of the value of the product, whether for operational purposes (cost reduction), driver training (ecological driving style) and customer satisfaction (comfort & safety). True to its mission of public utility, the operator saw the potential of such a solution, for its own operations, but also for other operators, in Switzerland and elsewhere.

Wishing to objectively assess the market potential, and to think about the best organization, the academic partner then turned to one of the largest start-up incubators in French-speaking Switzerland, well established in Geneva. It was the latter who approached SpringWorks to carry out a market study, to establish the first strategic hypotheses and to design the first outlines of a business plan.



The preliminary phase of this project was devoted to a few "briefing" meetings with the partner(s) in order to better understand the context, the history, the actors and the challenges of the project, and thus to better identify the needs of the customer.

Based on these very interesting and pleasant exchanges, supplemented with initial research from “secondary” sources on the subject, SpringWorks proposed a framework for the project, which was then discussed, completed and adjusted on the basis of customer feedback.

This framework defined in detail the duration and stages of the project, as well as the deliverables that SpringWorks planned to achieve. Not only does such a framework provide an effective and transparent basis for discussion, but also allows the content and budget to be adjusted to best suit the client's needs. Quite quickly, we agreed on the framework, the approach, the timing, … and the budget. The real work, divided into 2 major phases, could begin.

The first phase consisted of a detailed market study which included the following steps:
  • Deep-dive into the product – through reading project reports carried out with operators, articles and other press releases produced, and finally a detailed demonstration of the product.
  • “Secondary” research – going through many articles to get a better understanding of trends, regulatory aspects; visit to operator sites to clearly identify the needs of public transport operators; research competing alternatives (direct and indirect) available on the market; extraction of quantitative and qualitative information from various databases. In total more than thirty sources consulted and analyzed.
  • “Primary” research – interviews with managers of various operators in Switzerland and the European Union; interviews with representatives of international organizations related to public transport. A total of a dozen interviews, following a pre-established questionnaire, and all documented in reports or summaries of the interviews.
  • Draw relevant and pragmatic conclusions for the development of a commercial activity with the product – synthesis of market needs (the problem), the value of the product to meet them (the solution), market trends (the context), the structuring of the operators (the actors); production of several deliverables such as a SWOT matrix (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), an analysis of alternative products as well as a mapping of competing solutions; At this stage, it was already becoming clear that such a driving assistance solution adapted to the specificities of public transport – with its fixed routes and frequent stops – was rare or even non-existent, when the need was there.
  • Intermediate project report – the conclusions were shared with the client during a progress report on the project, during which SpringWorks also detailed the actions to be carried out to finalize the project a few weeks later.

How to conduct a strategic market research – Case Study

SpringWorks was asked to carry out an assessment of the commercial potential of an innovation developed by a major research institute in Switzerland, which had been successfully tested with an operational business partner.

Wishing to objectively assess the market potential, and to think about the best organization, the academic partner then turned to one of the largest start-up incubators in French-speaking Switzerland, well established in Geneva. It was the latter who approached SpringWorks to carry out a market study, to establish the first strategic hypotheses and to design the first outlines of a business plan.

Texte publié le 28 March 2022

After validating the conclusions of the analyses and the plan of the remaining actions, SpringWorks tackled the second phase, the home stretch of this project including:
  • Finalise the analysis & draw key lessons – taking into account the feedback from the client during the restitution of the first phase, certain aspects were deepened or clarified.
  • Develop a strategic framework – the best known format – and complete – is undoubtedly the Business Model Canvas (BMC) which allows you to clearly identify your value proposition, partners, customers, resources, distribution channels , sources of costs and revenues; more concise and visual, and thus easier to explain and understand, the "MOST" pyramid is one of SpringWorks' favorite tools because it guarantees clarity and alignment. Everything starts from the mission of the company, that is to say what it wants to represent and achieve with its target customers. This strong mission is then “translated” into specific objectives (“S.M.A.R.T.” for specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound). Once we know where to go, we must define the way to get there, through priority strategies that will then be deployed through tactical actions, all aligned towards – and to achieve – the mission.
  • Define of the assumptions of the business plan – the latter is in fact the quantified translation of the strategy, and must coherently reflect the elements of the MOST framework. Obviously an estimate of demand, i.e. sales potential (based on the vehicle fleets of European operators, price positioning, commercial and operational resources, structural costs, financing needs... all projected over a period of 5 years , with – if possible – a monthly detail for the first 2 years. The business plan remains an essential forecast, and constitutes a realistic judgment of the viability and feasibility of the project, but let's be clear: the plan is only the beginning, the hardest part remains to be done!



The culmination of the project was the presentation of the results to the management of the academic partner and the incubator: a summary of the conclusions of the first phase, as well as a detailed presentation of the strategic framework and the hypotheses of the business plan developed in the second phase of the project.

It was an opportunity to support the conclusion on the commercial potential of the product, but also to answer questions or comments, then guide the reflections on the follow-up to be given.

A few days after this presentation concluding the initial project, SpringWorks assisted the incubator in the development and evaluation of several setup and financing scenarios for this company, varying the involvement of the academic partner, the operational partner or even parties third parties.

Reassured by the conclusions, enlightened by the strategic framework and comforted by the draft business plan, the academic partner – supported and advised by SpringWorks – then began exploratory discussions with the operational partner with a view to creating a new entity. for the marketing of the current product and its future developments.

Once an organization and shareholding scenario had emerged, a “debriefing” meeting allowed the academic partner and the incubator to officially close this project.


SpringWorks continues today to follow the project gearing towards a commercialization of the product before the end of the summer, now mandated by the operational partner, on the following topics:

  • Detailed elaboration of the business strategy integrating other products and services in the portfolio
  • Updating and expanding the business plan bringing together all activities and products, with identification of needs & financing solutions
  • Deployment of the marketing plan and coordination of promotional and communication events
  • Research of brand names & logos, design of graphic charter & visual identity
  • Implementation of the organization and processes with all the teams, animation / project management, coordination of working groups

In the end, a smoothly carried out project, satisfied customers, and a continuous involvement of SpringWorks with the customers, ensuring continuity with the initial scope (feasibility study, definition of the strategy, development of the business plan), and combining the strategic aspects and operational actions. Like a true co-driver for business strategy.

Article written by Gert for SpringWorks – Geneva, Switzerland – 2022