Innovation in human spaceflight often requires talking in abstracts about markets that might one day exist. To sort out the dreams in the sky from the very real potential projects that we might see develop in the near future, I like to use the Innovative Market Offering Conditions Scale (IMOCS).
The IMOCS Scale measures how well developed an innovative market offering is in terms of the relationships between investors, suppliers, and customers.
An IMOCS score enumerates an offering’s market development progress from zero to seven within the IMOCS Scale. The scores range from popular culture awareness, at the bottom, to realizing a profitable market, at the top.
We’ve all had that conversation with that one friend. The one in which we try to talk about possible future business opportunities in space, only to receive total uninterest when we admit, that, yes, we’re probably talking about something that will happen in a hundred years.
I created the IMOCS Scale to help people understand the opportunities available in New Space without having to read through hundreds of market reports and scientific papers.
And maybe to help make that conversation with that one friend just a little bit easier (maybe).
|Innovative Market Offering Conditions||IMOCS Score|
|Suppliers making profit from customers taking delivery of paid offering||7|
|Suppliers making profit from customers paying for as yet non-delivered offering||6|
|Customers looking for suppliers to buy non-existent or under-served offerings||5|
|Suppliers looking for customers for developed/developing offering||4|
|Investors looking to capitalize suppliers to develop offering||3|
|Business analysts or academics developing business case for market offering||2|
|Popular culture, ‘wouldn’t it be cool?’ awareness (YouTube, movies, TV, books, etc.)||1|
How to use the IMOCS scale
Look at the market you’re analysing and find examples of activities in the left-hand column.
Many markets will feature multiple elements from the IMOCS scale. This is to be expected in a developing market or a market that is still growing.
Once found, read off the IMOCS Score for the activity highest in the table. This is the market’s IMOCS Score.
IMOCS Analysis of the New Space Industry
SpaceX’s Starship — 2021
SpaceX’s Starship is attempting to open up new markets in space by creating a new launch category — Ultra-high capacity, rapidly-reusable launch-to-orbit. In this article, I use IMOCS to analyse how far the project has come and what key indicators will be important for Starship’s market development in the future.