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Foresight | AI-Driven Innovation

Harnessing AI in Innovation: How to Build a Winning AI Opportunity Portfolio

The internet is awash with discussions on the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a catalyst for growth. Now is the moment to translate this hype into tangible opportunities for your business. It's time to explore what's feasible and make informed decisions about where and when to invest. The ITONICS Innovation OS is the ideal tool for navigating these decisions and briefing your team on potential opportunities. In this article, we'll outline a structured approach to harnessing AI effectively across various industries and showcase a practical, exemplary tool— the AI Opportunity Radar for the healthcare sector.

Why you need an AI opportunity portfolio

AI technologies are advancing at an extraordinary pace. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, AI could deliver an additional global economic output of $13 trillion by 2030, boosting global GDP by 1.2% annually. Breakthroughs in machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics are not isolated phenomena but are driving significant improvements across multiple sectors, from healthcare to finance and manufacturing to retail.

Organizations that effectively leverage AI gain a substantial competitive edge. A study by PwC indicates that 72% of business leaders view AI as the future business advantage. Companies can automate routine tasks, enhance decision-making processes, improve customer experiences, and create innovative products and services. Developing an AI portfolio positions your organization at the forefront of these innovations rather than playing catch-up.

The economic implications of AI are profound. Accenture estimates that AI can increase profitability rates by an average of 38% by 2035. Investing in AI-driven initiatives can yield substantial financial returns, positioning your organization to capitalize on this economic transformation. As AI becomes integral to business operations and strategic planning, early investors are better positioned to adapt to future technological shifts. An AI portfolio safeguards against obsolescence, ensuring your skills, knowledge, and investments remain relevant in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Although it might seem that AI is already ubiquitous and omnipotent—from conversing with customers to rapid drug discovery to creative generation—AI is still an emerging technology, given its potential technology curve. Until now, most AI applications can only react to current inputs without any memory of past experiences (reactive machines) or use past experiences to inform future decisions but have no permanent storage of those experiences (limited memory, as for self-driving cars).

More mature AI that can understand human emotions, beliefs, and intentions, allowing for more nuanced interactions (“Theory of Mind”) or self-aware AI, where AI has its own consciousness and self-awareness, similar to human beings, is still in the concept phase.

How to build your AI opportunity portfolio

To start building your AI Opportunity Portfolio, you should map your key business areas, today and for the future. As AI has widespread applicability, it is important to map potential AI applications across your entire value chain. Suppose your future business is expected to look different than today’s business. In that case, you can consider building two independent views: a Horizon 1 AI Opportunity Portfolio and a Horizon 2/3 AI Opportunity Portfolio (read more about this in The Optimal Innovation Strategy).

Next, take each business area and collect promising AI applications and ideas for AI applications. You can start by exploring operational inefficiencies, customer pain points, or reports of innovative AI applications from news. List all these opportunities and describe their potential impact. Listing the potential impact will help you make an informed investment decision for the AI opportunity. While listing the potential impact, you should also estimate the complexity of building or integrating the AI opportunity and how urgent it is to bring the use case alive. Estimating the complexity and urgency will help inform your decision to either develop the AI application internally or search for an external partner.

Based on your decision criteria—impact, complexity, urgency—compare AI opportunities to identify the most promising ones and plan their implementation via an AI roadmap. Visual tools like a radar or matrix make it easy to compare opportunities and other elements (e.g., trends, technologies, etc.) against predefined criteria and arrive at a prioritized selection.

How to use the AI opportunity radar

The AI Opportunity Radar consists of a central radius that can be used to visualize the diffusion stage (or readiness level or urgency). Having a time indicator displayed as the radius helps you easily spot which AI opportunities are most mature and which will take more time to develop (and give you more time to explore them).

Using the ITONICS Radar allows you to customize your AI Opportunity Portfolio based on your business fields, strategic topics, or value chain. This way, you can easily see which areas are most impacted and identify white spots and gaps where you can intensify your research of AI opportunities.


In the radar above, click on one of the bold segment titles along the outside of the radar to narrow the scope and view only the opportunities categorized in that segment, representing the Healthcare Value Chain. To return to the overview, click on “All Segments” in the upper left. Click on a dot on the radar or an opportunity name along the outside of the radar, and a sidebar will open to the right, providing you with more detailed information.

The size of the dot is one way to visualize criteria. In the radar above, size coding differentiates the business impact of the AI opportunities. For opportunities with lower estimated impact, dots appear in smaller sizes. And the larger the dot, the larger the potential business impact of the AI opportunity.

Color coding is another way to visualize criteria. Here, it is used to indicate complexity. AI opportunities colored red might be the most difficult to implement. In contrast, AI opportunities colored green are likely easier to implement.

The ITONICS radar offers a comprehensive overview of your AI opportunities, simplifying comparisons and aiding in informed decision-making on which opportunities to pursue. Serving as your ultimate source of truth, this tool enables you to craft a detailed AI roadmap that outlines timelines for testing, validating, and implementing chosen AI initiatives.

In addition to aiding decision-making and execution planning, the ITONICS Innovation OS also automates environmental scanning so you can continuously monitor the emergence of new AI opportunities and shifts in technological readiness. Leveraging AI itself, our system picks up related signals in real-time, automatically alerting you to changes in interest and the driving forces behind these changes. Keep your AI Opportunity Portfolio up-to-date with the latest insights to ensure no emerging opportunity is overlooked.

New AI opportunities for the healthcare industry

To exemplify the usefulness of an AI Opportunity Portfolio and Radar, we have built the AI Opportunity Radar for the Healthcare Industry (see the radar above). Within healthcare, AI promises numerous opportunities to improve health service provisioning, reduce administrative efforts, and anticipate health risks. For instance:

  • AI-powered diagnostic imaging systems can enhance the accuracy and speed of analyzing medical images, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, leading to early detection and diagnosis of various conditions. AI in diagnostic imaging can significantly improve patient outcomes by detecting diseases earlier and more accurately. The global market for AI in medical imaging was valued at approximately USD 1 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.9% from 2021 to 2028, reaching over USD 10 billion by 2028​ (Grand View Research)​. Companies like Aidoc and Zebra Medical Vision are leading the market with innovative solutions.
  • AI enables personalized medicine by analyzing genetic, environmental, and lifestyle data to tailor treatments for individual patients, optimizing drug efficacy and minimizing adverse effects. Personalized medicine can lead to more effective treatments, especially for complex diseases like cancer, thus improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. The personalized medicine market is expected to grow from USD 493 billion in 2020 to USD 3.18 trillion by 2028, at a CAGR of 11%​ (Bain)​. AI-driven solutions are a significant part of this growth, offering targeted therapies based on individual patient profiles.
  • AI accelerates the drug discovery process by analyzing vast datasets to identify potential drug candidates and predict their efficacy and safety, reducing the time and cost associated with bringing new drugs to market. The AI in drug discovery market was valued at USD 520 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 4 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 40%​ (MobiHealthNews)​. Major pharmaceutical companies are investing heavily in AI technologies to streamline their R&D processes.
  • AI-driven predictive analytics uses historical data to predict future health outcomes, helping manage patient care, reduce hospital readmissions, and optimize treatment plans. Predictive analytics can enhance patient care by identifying at-risk individuals and optimizing resource allocation, leading to cost savings and improved health outcomes. The healthcare predictive analytics market is expected to grow from USD 2.74 billion in 2020 to USD 28.77 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 48.2%​ (Grand View Research)​. The adoption of predictive analytics is accelerating as healthcare providers recognize its potential to improve efficiency and patient care.
  • AI-enhanced robotic surgery systems provide surgeons with greater precision, control, and flexibility, improving surgical outcomes and reducing recovery times. Robotic surgery can enhance surgical precision and outcomes, making it a highly attractive area for investment. Hospitals and surgical centers are increasingly adopting these technologies to improve their capabilities. The global robotic surgery market was valued at USD 5.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 17 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 10.8%​ (MobiHealthNews)​. Companies like Intuitive Surgical and Medtronic are leading the market with their advanced robotic systems.

In conclusion, these AI opportunities only represent a subset of the AI opportunities for the healthcare industry. Yet, each opportunity already promises significant business potential and growth prospects in the healthcare industry.

The integration of AI technologies can lead to improved patient outcomes, reduced costs, and enhanced efficiency in healthcare delivery. However, realizing these benefits involves overcoming substantial technical, regulatory, and ethical challenges as well as financial resources. It is thus important that each company builds its own AI Opportunity Portfolio and carefully analyzes each AI application independently.

The ITONICS Innovation OS is best suited to provide individual detailed information and keep a holistic view of the constantly evolving AI landscape.

Let us help you build your AI opportunity portfolio

ITONICS is the leading SaaS provider of systematic innovation management. Our AI-driven innovation software platform helps organizations around the globe to identify emerging technologies, trends, and market potentials and translate them into powerful growth strategies.