This post is part of our Peer Insights Series, in which alumni and other friends of The Forum can harness the power of this network to help find answers to pressing questions and challenges in their professional lives. This query comes to us from Francisco Pimentel, a BSSE alumnus in the HBS Class of 2005, who is interested to know your thoughts on the following:

My company is trying to bring to market what we believe is a very disruptive innovation and I would appreciate your advice and thoughts on how best to do it, including how to frame it and how to effectively communicate to potential clients about this innovation. Specifically, we’re working in partnership with EU manufacturers, R&D labs, and academia to create an anti-covid textile fabric. It’s in the process of patent registration, but by changing the technology that bonds the active principle into the fabric, we’ve managed to create a nanofield at the fabric surface that has had great results against SARS and other coronaviruses, and we’re expecting similar results with covid as well. The change in technology, which is less invasive than existing methods, also enables several other improvements in terms of breathability, thermal regulation, sustainability, and wash resistance. It would clearly be a world-first in textiles.

We want to use this to provide masks, gloves, and a clothing range that people can wear when they go outside, thereby reducing the risk of contagion. My questions are: How would you bring this to market? And how do we avoid being perceived as exploiting a health need? We’d like to commit to sell only to cover costs or with minimal margins, but does that make sense? And should we offer this technology as a health product or as technical clothing? We’ve planned on B2C distribution, as we’re a retailer, but should we cater to governments (and handle the bureaucracy)? Also, since the fabric is reusable and you can wash it, is our competition the single-use masks and protection suits?

I would love to hear from The Forum community on how best to bring this innovation to market at this time – thank you!