For successful innovation you need to think about the future market and consider what is driving the business opportunity you have identified. The Horizons tool is designed to help you build social and environmental factors fully into your thinking to better describe the future market.

The tool was developed by Innovate UK with leading sustainability NGO Forum for the Future, and is used internally by Innovate UK when shaping all programme strategies, competitions and Catapults.

It describes the social and environmental factors that define a sustainable economy - an economy that delivers social value and operates within safe environmental limits. These factors can be used as a checklist and brainstorming tool to stimulate your thinking when developing innovation projects.

It can be accessed free of charge via

The tool can be used to inform your organisation's strategy, and can also help when preparing proposals for Innovate UK and other competitions. It will help you explore:

  • What factors are driving changes in the market opportunity you have identified
  • How they are changing the market
  • How will your project respond, eg. what partners might you work with?
  • How might this shape the route to market exploitation
  • What are the wider benefits that your project might deliver

Innovate UK have made a video to introduce the tool.

Please make use of the Knowlege Transfer Network for support using the tool, and assistance exploiting the insights gained through its use, for instance locating partners with specific expertise.

Contact Details


  • 07801226431 - other

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A little about Horizons

“Horizons” helps organisations and innovators to see the bigger picture – to take account of external social and environmental factors that are impacting on potential markets across all sectors, and creating massive innovation opportunities.