Problem exploration for creating value propositions when developing
point-of-care solutions

Annelies Bobelyn, Rene Unteregger, Johanna I. Höffken, Isabelle Reymen


Point-of-care (POC) testing has been increasingly proposed as one of the most promising solutions for improving healthcare provision as it enables fast and accurate testing both inside and outside hospital settings. Many of these POC device stem from academic research. Yet, the commercialization of these devices through academic spin-offs is not straigthforward. Many academic spin-offs fail due to an inproperly articulated value proposition. To create a value proposition with biosensors it is crucial to understand how they can be used to address problems in the current diagnostics processes and protocols. Therefore, this paper studies how different university teams engage in problem exploration to better understand how they can translate the technical features of their POC testing solutions into an attractive value proposition. To be able to study this, a qualitative case study research design was chosen. In particular, 11 university student teams participating in the SensUs contest were studied. The main findings show that teams adopting search patterns involving a ‘broader’ (i.e., considering a wider range of problems and stakeholders) and a more ‘interconnected’ (i.e., thematically linking problems with one another) problem-exploration were more successful in creating contest outcomes (biosensing solutions) with greater commercial viability. Moreover, teams that sougth direct feedback from market experts generated more commercially viable projects than teams that relied primarly on advice from technical experts.